Saturday, February 13, 2010

Read a little, write a lot

There are hundreds of books out there that are designed to hone your skills as a writer. I know this because I think I own half of them. Some of them are wonderful. Others, not so much.

The best ones are the ones that are motivating, that really infuse in you the desire to devour the information in the pages and then create your own magic. Others are ponderous; the authors get caught up in their own hype, promoting their own offerings until you decide, reluctantly, that it just might be time for a nap.

A few of my favorites: "Writing Down the Bones," by the extremely motivational Natalie Goldberg; "On Writing," by Stephen King, (No, he's not scary - he's actually quite funny); "Bird by Bird," by Anne Lamott, which speaks more to the whole philosophy of writing; and "The Artist's Way," by Julia Cameron, a classic for would-be writers that is really a workbook. It forces you, with daily writing exercises, to get off your butt and get creative.

Oh, and about that - a little cautionary tale. I love to read. Almost too much, if there is such a thing. So, for a while, I pretty much collected writing books. And while I became quite schooled in all the nuances and motivations of other writers, I wasn't really getting anything done. I was employing a very specialized type of writer's procrastination, I guess. I highly recommend not falling into that trap.

Read a little, write a lot.


  1. My 7th graders are beginning to write short stories. We're just getting started on their main characters and they are all wound up and excited. It makes my heart happy! Maybe someday a big famous writer like you could come in and talk to my kids about writing. They (and I) would love it!

  2. Hey, Tara!!

    I would LOVE to come talk to your kids!! I think it would be crazy fun.

    Of course, I have a very demanding media schedule; I'll have to fit you in ... :)

    But I'm sure we can work something out. Send me an email!!