You will find inspiration in these 13 writing books

It’s been a month now, and this chat still stirs me.

Tuesday Twitter #writestuff started the weekly chat with Question 1:
What’s your favorite book about writing (fiction or nonfiction?)

Tiffany Arnold mentioned On Writing by Stephen King.

A cult leader but for corgis suggested both The Emotional Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi; and Steal like an Artist by Austin Kleon.

Steven Capobianco recommended Wanderbook by Jeff VanderMeer.

Mark Gelinas mentioned Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine.

LostMyHook suggested Bird by Bird by Annie Lamott.

Allie McCormack recommended The Complete Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes  by Tami Cowden and Caro LeFever.

Wendy Roberts mentioned The Kick-Ass Writer by Chuck Wendig.

Chuck Rothman suggested Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain.

Priya Sridhar also recommended On Writing and Writing Magic.

the_bearded_banfield mentioned Thrill Me: Essays on Fiction by Benjamin Percy.

Kevin Wayne Williams suggested About Writing by Samuel R. Delany.

Although not mentioned in this chat, Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder is strongly recommended by my writing group.


The first inspiration I thought of was Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg.

Why? Gosh darn it if I know. Now that I’m an established writer and I know what I know,–and don’t know what I don’t know–how does that book inspire me? Now?

I pulled it off my self-help shelf of motivational writing books I don’t read anymore. My first reaction seeing the book was: How familiar.

I know I spent hours reading it, probably taking notes in a journal, but now I couldn’t remember a word. When I don’t know where to begin a book, I open it to a random page. That’s the page I was meant to read.

I flipped to Page 11 and read: “…your writing that is scary or naked, dive right into it. It probably has lots of energy.)”

That is exactly how my memoirs are, how I write them to be, as everyone in my critique group strives for. If a passage is uncomfortable to read it aloud, then you have accomplished your goal. “Naked.”

Page 40: “The ability to put something down–to tell how you feel about an old husband, an old shoe, or the memory of a cheese sandwich on a gray morning in Miami–that moment…you are free.”

What caught me was the specific cheese sandwich: sight (gray) and smell (I imagine grilled cheese). So slight and delicate. Those little moments–my moments, your moments–are the detail that brings writing to life, make your life authentic.

How does your writing make you feel?

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