Writing Is My Drink: A Writer’s Story of Finding Her Voice (and a Guide to How You Can Too) by Theo Pauline Nestor

A writer’s journey, written as a guide for aspiring and developing writers.


Theo Pauline Nestor always wanted to be a writer. But she struggled to find confidence and her writing voice for many years, through two kids and several career changes, before publishing How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed, a memoir about her divorce and its aftermath. In Writing Is My Drink, Nestor returns to memoir with tales from her childhood, formative years and journey toward publication, and confessional forays into her parents’ alcoholism and her more embarrassing moments as an aspiring writer. Readers and writers will appreciate nods to Terry Tempest Williams, Natalie Goldberg and Frank McCourt, whom Nestor temporarily confused with her father.

Writing Is My Drink is also part instruction guide. Each chapter finishes with a short “Try This” piece that offers writing exercises, lists to make and concepts to keep in mind. She coaches when to push oneself and when to be forgiving, and shares the sad news that rejection and bad writing are integral parts of publication and good writing. Now an instructor in memoir writing, Nestor is well placed to offer such advice, and despite her convoluted journey–or perhaps because of it–she has a great deal of wisdom to share with her students.

Writing Is My Drink is by turns instructive, funny, poignant and deeply personal. Nestor’s voice is informal and occasionally self-deprecating, but one of the central lessons she has learned and wants to share is that of trusting oneself. Her story will be an inspiration to readers who seek self-expression.

This review originally ran in the December 27, 2013 issue of Shelf Awareness for Readers. To subscribe, click here, and you’ll receive two issues per week of book reviews and other bookish fun!

Rating: 7 stories told sitting on a barstool.

3 Responses

  1. ”Frank McCourt, whom Nestor temporarily confused with her father.”

    I’m not sure how this confusion could happen, but this is a great idea. I was one of Mr. McCourt’s many students at one point, and, while I never confused him with my father, it was a great experience.

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