Dancing on the Head of a Pen by Robert Benson

Most of the time, writing a book more closely resembles digging a ditch than participating in some transcendent creative experience. ~ Robert Benson

Author Robert Benton

A compelling combination of advice and inspiration, Dancing on the Head of a Pen will challenge and encourage writers, artists, musicians, painters—anyone drawn to a life of artistic expression.

Digging deeply into his own writing habits, failures, and successes, Robert Benson helps you choose the ideal audience for your work, commit to it, and overcome the hurdles that inevitably confront both aspiring artists and accomplished professionals.

Extending beyond the craft of writing, this gentle book moves into a rich discussion on the relationship between spirituality and art. Including wisdom from revered writers past and present, Dancing on the Head of a Pen is a beautiful mosaic of inspiration, practical help, and a glimpse into the disciplines that shape one writer’s life.

(Synopsis and image via Random House LLC)


The title of Robert Benson’s book, Dancing on the Head of a Pen: The Practice of a Writing Lifedrew me in like a moth drawn to a flame. What was behind the choice of the words, “dancing on the head of a pen?” Was this just another book on writing? I’ll answer both questions at the end of this review. 

Open the cover, flip past the title page, and get to know Robert Benson. Benson is a wordsmith beyond compare. He not only writes about the work behind writing but also shares the rewards. I found Dancing on the Head of a Pen an enchanting volume in which our guide takes the reader straight to that illusive place where the lives of art and the creative’s spirit meet.

Benson’s work is not another guidebook teaching effective writing and offering tips. In Benson’s words, I found encouragement, practicality, humor, and inspiration. I came away feeling as if I had been groomed to take the gift of writing out into the world and so should return to my desk and finish my book. And I could do so with a smile on my face because now I knew where the source of my words resides.

My conclusion upon finishing Benson’s book is the relationship between “dancing” and “writing,” i.e. the pen, is expression of joy experienced when crafting in the mode one loves. That answers the first question above, and the answer to the second is quite simple. No, this is not just another book on writing. Benson has surpassed many of the books I’ve read on writing by giving the reader the gift of his own joy and passion for the writing arts.

RecommendationWithout reservation, I recommend Dancing on the Head of a Pen writers at all stages of their writing experience. You will come away with a new sense of purpose and meaning in your writing life.

And for those of you considering writing, or not, this is a delightful look at this one writer’s view of writing.


Where to Purchase and
Book Details:

Dancing on the Head of a Pen by Robert Benson is available at the following retail outlets: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound, Random House, Powell’s, and other outlets found here.

Dancing on the Head of a Pen: The Practice of a Writing Life
By: Robert Benson:
Published: July 15, 2014
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Edition: Hardcover, 192 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4000-7435-8


Get to Know Robert Benson:

Robert Benson, AuthorRobert Benson is the author of numerous books, including The Echo Within, Digging In, and Home by Another Way. A retreat leader, Benson writes and speaks often on the life of prayer and contemplation, the practice of faith and spirituality, and the art and craft of writing. He is a graduate of and an adjunct faculty member for the Academy for Spiritual Formation, a program of The Upper Room. He is married to the literary agent Sara Fortenberry. Benson lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and he dances on the head of a pen every day no matter where he happens to be.


Blogging for Books -300x250-2I received a copy of Dancing on the Head of a Pen from WaterBrook Press in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.



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