Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Few of my Favorite Resources for Writers from the Heart of Diana

A Few of my Favorite Resources for Writers from the Heart of Diana

Over the years I have accumulated a good many books. In our home we have a total of six large (extra wide) floor to ceiling bookshelves, two smaller ones and stacks resting on most surfaces of the house and floor. A few boxes of books are waiting to find their place on bookcases that haven’t yet been built. Often when I present a workshop I like to recommend a few of my favorite resources for writers from the many I own.

At the top of my list is:

Anne Lamont’s, Bird by Bird, Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Anne writes in a way that resonates with so many writers. She is brutally honest about what it will cost you to be a serious writer. She writes from her own life and the life stories of other writers as well as her Father who was well published and a huge influence in Anne’s life. I read this book like a novel and then went back and read it again as a text. She writes of wonder – Awe and Ecstacy and warns the writer of other times you will want to kill yourself. I would love to quote Anne here, I have so many underlined paragraphs and sentences but I have not gotten the permission to do so. I will quote one writer she quotes though; E.L. Doctrow once said that “writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

Natalie Goldberg’s, Writing Down the Bones, Freeing the Writer Within

Natalie’s book is a different writers ‘How to’. With chapter titles like Writing is Not a McDonald’s Hamburger, One Plus One Equals a Mercedes Benz, and Don’t Marry the Fly, you will be challenged to approach your writing in a new way. Great exercises to breakthrough your writers block!

I picked up this title because it is so similar to my way of looking at things. The Playful Way to Serious Writing by Roberta Allen. This title claims to, “turn the dread of writing into a creative, puzzle solving personal adventure. An excellent title for a writers group to use. Terrific writing prompts and photographs meant to inspire a burst of creativity. Have some fun and give it a look.

More Than Words, Contemporary Writers on the Words that Shaped Them written by one of my favorite authors, Philip Yancey. This title speaks of the influence of literary masters and their works upon the contemporary writers of our day. To list a few of the authors enclosed: J. R. Tolkien, Flannery O’Connor, Charles Dickens, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Ray Bradbury, T.S. Elliot, and John Milton. For us word lovers, it is a veritable treasure trove.

A few others titles that I have recommended to authors are:

Author 101 Best Selling Book Proposals, The Everything Guide to Writing a Book Proposal, How to Write Attention Grabbing Query and Cover Letters, The Artists Way and On Writing Well.

There are more but I realize that you all have other things you must attend to today. (Like writing). I do hope you take a look at these and see if they can be of any help in your writing journey and please feel free to share with us in the comment box what titles are a favorite tool in your writing box.

Hoping today you will stand in awe of the gift you have been given and feel a renewed sense of mission and passion for it.



Cynthia Lott Vogel said...
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Cynthia Lott Vogel said...

Thanks for your interesting post. A number of those books are on my shelves as well and are greatly treasured. The others, I will have to look into obtaining.
They sound like great resources.

Jeanette Levellie said...

I hope I am not dreaming: didn't I see this same post a few days ago? Do I need a long nap?

I love Ann Lamott's "Bird by Bird," Diana. Especially her chapter about stinky first drafts. She is a writer's writer.

Two other great resources are "The First Five Pages" by Noah Lukeman and "Writers on Writing," a compilation of advice by successful authors, edited by James Watkins.