Saturday, October 9, 2021

If You Aren't a Writer, Don't Read This (The 10 best books on writing)

Yeah, I fall asleep on my books too.


 From Steven Pressfield:

"Typing 'The End' on a tale that will never sit on the bookstore shelf is another chapter in your story as a writer.

"All the published work you see from a writer is just the tip of the iceberg. The rest of it is below the surface, but you still need to write it.

"Keep writing."


 From Me:

Good advice is often simply Giving Permission. 


 I am, therefore, giving you good advice, “Write.” 


Write your heart out. Write whether anyone is reading it or not. The process will up your spirits, infuriate you, and give you an understanding of why you’re here.


 I can’t tell you how to write the Great American Novel, but I can motivate you to grab a pen and paper, a computer, whatever.  One author wrote a novel with a tablet on the edge of his swimming pool while standing in the water—lucky dog. I bet he looked like a Shari-Pei when he climbed out though.

You can join the ranks of those who have touched our spirits, made us feel, laugh, cry, and who have, yes, taught us something. We loved them, we traveled the road with them, we re-read them.


And I can set your feet on the trail toward a writing life by listing the ten very best books on writing.


Those books were written by the masters. Read them all.

Thank you for being here.

 I appreciate you.



The 10 Best Books on Writing according to me:

(Forgive me if I'm repeating myself, but with these book we can't be reminded often enough.) 

I'm putting this one up front, because I think Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont is a must-read. (I love that girl.) 


Thirty years ago, her little 10-year-old brother faced the blank page. He had a report due the following day--on birds. He had three months to do the assignment but faced the deadline the next day. (Does that strike a familiar cord?)


The poor little guy was overwhelmed and in tears. Their father sat down beside him, put an arm over his shoulder, and said, “Just take in bird by bird, Buddy, bird by bird.”


And so, dear reader/writer, as Lamont advises, take your words like the birds. “Bird by bird, buddy, bird by bird.”


Here we go, I’ve read them all.

 1.On Writing by Steven King

A shoo-in for someone with that name and body of work


 2. The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr & CB White.

Remember this from freshman English? “Omit needless words. Omit needless words.”


 3. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Overcoming resistance—could be called procrastination. And you find ways you didn’t know you were procrastinating. Still, when you get moving, you will also notice a lightness of spirit will envelop you, even if your writing sucks.


 4. Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

Zen didn’t seem quite right for Bradbury, but his enthusiasm for writing will set your pants on fire.


 5. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleoh.

No, don’t plagiarize. However, everyone gets inspiration from somewhere. Take it from the best and make it your own.


 6. Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg

This is an all-time most popular book on writing. It is celebrating its 30th year. I was shocked that it wasn’t on the famous five list. It is one of the first books on writing I read, and I still believe Goldberg, “Writing will take you where you want to go. 


 7. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont. 

Dear Anne.


 8. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

Many quotes, much practical advice.


 9. Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t, by Steven Pressfield.

“Your sh*t is that nobody wants to hear your self-centered, ego-driven, unrefined demands for attention.” –Steven Pressfield


And it is more, “Believe in yourself when no one else on the planet shares that belief.


 10. Brain Storm by Don Hahn

A Disney Imagineer writes on “Unleashing Your Creative Self,” Not strictly a book on writing, but a book on creativity.


 Now, read all of these, then put your pen to page.

To see pictures of our time on the Island and to read commentary on my book, The Frog's Song please give a  click here.


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