Monday, May 6, 2013

Reads for Writers: Non-Writers Beware as Writers Unite

        From Kate's Writing Crate...
        Recently I was at a book event where I was seated next to a school librarian. Among other topics, we talked about some teachers and other adults discouraging students from becoming writers. The biggest reasons given were: you don't have enough experience and you won't make any money.

        Why do non-writers feel they have any say in who becomes a writer anyway?
        Every person has experiences interacting with others and overcoming hurdles in life. Add in unique insights, imagination, and the willingness to put in hours at the keyboard or pen in hand and a writer is born.
        Someone has to be a bestselling author, top songwriter, in-demand script writer, and popular playwright. Work hard, use your talents, and why not you? And good livings can be made in those fields even if you are not the most successful. Writers are also needed to be columnists, journalists, staff writers, bloggers as well as in the advertising and greeting card businesses.
        However, not many new writers are given support. If you cannot find a person in your life to support your dream of writing, turn to the company you keep—books by authors who speak to you. Here are a few of my favorites:
        Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg is one of the best support systems for beginning and intermediate writers. Goldberg shares her story, believes in yours, and shows you how to integrate writing into your life. It's the book that got me to write on a regular basis which led to my writing and editing career. In my opinion, it's a must-read.
        Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott is a masterclass. She recounts her journey as a writer (starting when she was seven), a bestselling author (after decades of writing and the publication of her fourth book), and a writing teacher. It's a funny and realistic look at the writing life. Another must read!
        The Writer's Life: Insights from The Right to Write by Julia Cameron is an inspiring pocket-size book perfect to keep with you all day. When you have a spare moment, open to any page and read about the writing life, i.e., your life.
        The Writer's Chapbook: A Compendium of Fact, Opinion, Wit, and Advice from the Twentieth Century's Preeminent Writers Edited from The Paris Review interviews and with an introduction by George Plimpton shares insights from over 200 writers on an array of topics including first efforts, work habits, style, success, failure, plot, characters, symbols, dialogue, writer's block, criticism, and much more. In the chapter "On Motivation: Why I Write", you can find support from over 55 writers as they discuss the importance of writing.
        I've recommended many writing books on this blog including most strongly The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield. Click on "writing book recommendations" under Categories to see other books that might appeal to and support you.

What books support your writing life?


1 comment:

  1. I had the same discussion recently with my school librarian friend. I have difficulty wrapping my mind around the concept that teachers, or counselors, or parents for that matter, would discourage any student who aspires to become a writer. Or any other career path toward which they are inclined. It's not all about the money. It's about Love. Passion. Excitement. Goodness. Life.

    I remember my older son telling me when he was in grade six that he wanted to work with animals when he grew up. "You'll never be rich, but you'll be happy," I told him. "Go for it." He did.

    Our other son? He wants to be a writer. We told him, too, to make that leap of faith. The worst thing I can imagine is that either of them say, "I should have tried it when I had the chance."

    God bless them both for their passions.