Monday, August 8, 2016

Reads for Writers: Write Within Yourself: An Author's Companion by William Kenower

From Kate’s Writing Crate…

          When I started out to become a writer, I didn’t know any writers except the ones I read and loved. I didn’t know how to write an article or a book or what comprised a workday. I only knew I wanted to write, too.

          Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg gave me an on ramp into the writing life. As I have mentioned previously, it was a great help to start a writing career.

Since then, I’ve become a professional writer. I know and edit many writers, but the writing process is different for each one of us. Because I mostly work alone, I’m always looking for writing companions.
I’ve found a few books like: For Writers Only: Inspiring thoughts on the exquisite pain and heady joy of the writing life from its great practitioners by Sophy Burnham; The Writer’s Home Companion by Joan Bolker, Ed.D.; Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury; The War of Art: Break Through Your Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield; The Writing Life by Ellen Gilchrist; Blue Pastures by Mary Oliver; The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life by Julia Cameron; Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott; and Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman. As for blogs, I recommend Writing Wednesdays by Steven Pressfield and Kristin Lamb’s award-winning blog.

While browsing for something to read recently, I came across Write Within Yourself: An Author’s Companion by William Kenower. In his 80 concise essays about writing, Kenower shares some life stories, beliefs, insights, advice, topics to consider, successes, failures as well as quotes from other writers.

On pages 12 & 13:

Every day when writers sit down to write, they must ask themselves this question of, “What do I most want to say?” over and over again…

…What do I most want?

Life, and well-being, is really as simple as that…that question remains the most courageous , the most meaningful, and also the most frightening  question you will ever answer…as a writer, if you answer authentically you may see a combination of words on the page that you have never read before, which is both exhilarating and frightening…

On page 97:

Through writing you can learn the endlessly practical discipline of trust. You learn to trust because you are forever the judge and jury of all decisions in your life, and writing draws this fact into stark relief. You must trust yourself finally, or nothing will ever get written.

          On page 149:

…I only got to discover that I love to write once. And yet writing, like some marriages, can be a constant discovery. As with writing, love is not some destination but a portal, a window through which to see life as I intend to lead it.

          On page 159:

So do not think about writing beautifully, think only about writing clearly and about what you care the most. Let the words take the shape of whatever your clarity demands, and then let it go. If you manage to say precisely what you mean, you will have provided another person the opportunity to share in what you love, and there is little in the world more beautiful than that.


          Like the other companion books I listed, Write Within Yourself sits on a shelf near my writing desk. I write alone, but I have a support system.

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