My Favorite Books to Get Writers Writing

My Favorite Books to Get Writers Writing
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Like most writers, my bookshelf overflows with writing related books. They run the gamut from writers’ memoirs to general how-to, style books to crafting poetry. Reference guides to screenplay writing. And like most writers, I have my favorites when it comes to motivating me to peck away at my laptop.

Let me share a few of them with you.

Bird by Bird: Some Instruction on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott. A perennial favorite, what I like about this book is how Lamott understands the things that trip up a writer–overwhelm, perfectionism, and doubts that plague you when you sit down to write. She breaks the process into bite-sized pieces, with wit and just maybe a little spit–she has her cantankerous moments. But you come away feeling like this writer truly understands where you are coming from and what you need to do to get where you’re going.

No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty. From the guy who came up with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) comes his book on precisely how to do that–write a 50,000-word novel in thirty days. There is something exciting about joining with thousands of writers around the world to write a novel in one month’s time, and Baty’s enthusiasm will help you through the joys and pitfalls of the challenge. This book is a must for newbies who have never tackled NaNoWriMo.

The Playful Way to Serious Writing¬† by Roberta Allen. I’ve always been a firm believer that the “writing muscle” needs regular exercise. Allen is a veteran teacher of creative writing and draws on this vast experience to create unique writing exercises with “hundreds of verbal directives and visual cues.” She refers to it as the Energy Method, and I found this to be true when doing these exercises myself as well as leading group activities. If you’ve lost the joy of writing or feel stuck in your current project, I recommend this book to get you up and writing again.

Poemcrazy by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge. Part meditation, part exercise, this book is a feast for wordsmiths and poetry lovers–or anyone who wants to breathe life into her prose. Wooldridge is the English teacher you wish you had back in grade school. Her gentle ways help you discover (or revive) your inner poet.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. The book opens memoir style with the master himself telling stories from his life in short, easily digested chapters. The reader follows along the path that helped develop King into the writer that he is today. The second part turns instructional, with the best-selling author offering his wisdom on the craft. Well worth the read!

If you’re lacking the motivation and drive to write, or you just want to fall in love with the process again, give one or two or five of these books a try. You just might find the encouragement you need to get back to your writing.

What writing book motivates you to write? Tell us about it in the comments.

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