A Writer Reads

by limebirdlorna

I find inspiration everywhere, but sometimes I need a little push.  On slow days, I go to these books for a prompt, a spark, or some words on the craft:

The Writer’s Block – I truly love this thing.  We go back a long way and we’ve been through a lot.  This little book is coffee-stained, highlighted, dented and loved.

3 AM Epiphany – In my mind, this book makes you write outside the box.  Interesting prompts with word limits prove that less usually leads to more.

The Writer’s Idea Book – This book uses personal prompts and other prompts in order for you to get words on a page then re-write them.

The Art of Writing Fiction – This is a new one on me, but very useful.  My favourite at the moment.

So, those are on my writing shelf at home.  I also have a teeny tiny copy of Writing Down the Bones, but it’s too tiny to read, so I haven’t.  And while I did go through a morning pages phase, The Artist’s Way is not my favourite thing.

When I’m stalling, I also read my favourite authors, and I have a thing for first novels.

What writing books do you read?

Where do you find inspiration?

28 Responses to “A Writer Reads”

  1. I love, love, love 3am epiphany. You should try Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

  2. Writing books frustrate me. The last one I liked was Writing with Power by Peter Elbow, but that was back in 11th grade.

    I really WANT to learn from them, but so often they rub me the wrong way somehow. I am not sure why. Maybe because when I’m in MY sandbox, I don’t want people hanging around telling me how to design my sandcastle.

  3. I tried going through The Artist’s Way and something didn’t jive with me either. I wonder why?

  4. I read, not about how to or ideas, I read on the net, off my bookshelf, newspapers. I find that if I am struggling I need to let it drift and see what happens. I do try to write each day, even if its just prose notes, the act of writing any mundane thing can set me up. Going over old writing yet to be expanded can help too.

  5. I like to read so many different things. It is hard to narrow it down. I have been inspired even by things like “Captain Underpants”. One book I love is “Embrace Me” by Lisa Samson. I think it just depends on my mood.

  6. I love Stephen King’s On Writing. Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird can be counted on to get me through any writing problem.

  7. I like “Writing Down the Bones” and “The Pocket Muse.” I glean the most inspiration from Franz Kafka, though. Really wish I’d known the guy…

  8. When I am creating excuses for not writing, I reread Time to Write, by Kelly Stone. It has quite a few stories of writers that had to become very creative in their attempt to find time to write.

  9. Oh my friend really loves Writing Down the Bones…I think Cora Zane also told me it was a good one!

  10. Bird by Bird; Escaping into the Open (Elizabeth Berg); Unstuck (Jane Anne Staw); Walking on Alligators (Susan Shaughnessy); A Writer’s Book of Days (Judy Reeves); The Writer’s Book of Hope (Ralph Keyes). How to Write (Richard Rhodes).

  11. True story: I wrote to Elizabeth Berg once to praise her novel Durable Goods, and she wrote back and was very nice.

  12. I have a shelf-full of books on writing, many mentioned already. The Zen of Writing is also a great one.

  13. Wow, look at all these great recommendations everyone, amazing! I have to be honest, I don’t read any writing books at all. I’m not saying that I don’t need them, far from it, I’ve just never had the desire to read a writing book. Instead, I like to re-read my favourite authors and see how they do it.

    The only one that I’m tempted to read it Stephen King, ‘On Writing’ that Kourtney mentioned. Hmm, maybe I should invest in some after this post LimebirdLorna! 🙂

    • I was skeptical about reading books about writing. But it helped me learn writer speak making me a better beta reader and self-editor. As a reader, I can tell you what I like and don’t like, but explaining why it didn’t work and articulating methods to fix it used to be a hurdle. I like writing books that feel more like an intimate discussion where a master shares their knowledge and perspective. Stephen King and Anne Lamott felt like mentors after I finished their books.

  14. When trying to find I inspiration I tend to just read novels that are the same genre that I write. These books also happen to be my favorite genre anyways so it’s almost always guaranteed to be enjoyable.

  15. I enjoy books about writing. A Writer’s Book of Days by Judy Reeves is fun. I had a blast taking Eric Maisel’s A Writer’s Paris with me to Paris a few years ago, where I rented an apartment and played ex-pat writer for a week. I’m currently reading and enjoying Naked, Drunk and Writing by Adair Lara, which is about creative nonfiction.

    After all these years, I still enjoy discussing craft, and I guess that’s what writing books do for me in absence of a workshop situation.

    I have to say that The Artists Way really changed my writing life for the better, and got me on a track of upping my commitment to writing that brought a lot of amazing things into my life (writer’s conference, writing workshop, PEN Emerging Voices fellowship). I’ve tried to do it again with no success, but do find that morning pages will pull me out of the writing doldrums.

    Great topic, LimebirdLorna! I’m looking forward to checking out some of these books I hadn’t come across before.

    • Seems like I would love a Writer’s Paris, and been there twice and want to go with the dude at some point. I like Paris, but I love Prague. Have you been? I’m going to check out Naked, Drunk and Writing, sounds like my kind of book!

      Hope you find a new one to like from my list!

  16. Okay, I just got Bird by Bird and it is indeed a pretty amazing book; I may have to revise my ideas about books on writing.

  17. I just finished Bird by Bird. Everybody should read this book. I mean everybody in the world.


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