Here are a few books we’ve found inspiring and useful. Have you read one – if so what did you think? Any others you’ve found useful? Contribute your own thoughts and ideas in the comments box below.
Writing down the bones, by Natalie Goldberg
Review by Astrid: Natalie started it all off with this book. Some of the writing exercises may sound tired, just because everyone else has copied her ideas for the last 20 years. It’s still good to dip into now.
Read about Writing down the bones on Amazon
Recommended by: Kath, Astrid
On Writing: a memoir of the craft
by Stephen King
Review by Astrid: You may not agree with everything he says, but hey he’s had sooo many books published. The first section is a memoir of how he got started and what happened when ‘Carrie’ made him his first million. The second half divulges how he writes a novel from beginning to end, fascinating stuff. If only we all had time to sit and write every morning and do our 3000 words a day!
Solutions for Writers, by Sol Stein
Review by Astrid: This was recommended to me when I first started writing and I have come back to it so many times. The writer offers really good practical ideas about how to improve dialogue, scenes, plotting etc. You name it, Sol covers it. This is worth buying.
Bird by Bird: Instructions on writing and life
By Anne Lamott
Review by Kath: This inspiring book has some really interesting exercises in it. Lamott’s approach is to improvise -let your characters run away with themselves instead of feeling you have to know all the answers at the beginning.
Read about Bird on Bird on Amazon
Recommended by: Robin at the April 2010 Just Write meet up
The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield
Review by Kath: This US war veteran suffered from writer’s block for years until he learnt the cause and how to break through it. Now he’s a top-selling historical novellist.
Writer’s block s simply a form of resistance, he says. And we put up resistance to any worthwhile and difficult cause -whether it’s a program to get tighter abdominals, a project to help humanity or writing that novel.
There’s no point trying to reason with your resistance, says Pressfield. All you do is cut through it. Turn up at the writing table, and sit there for a given period and write something. Doesn’t matter what. Do that every day, and in time you’ll come up with something good.
Out of interest, he says resistance is fear. Fear of being good. And that fear comes from your ego, which wants to maintain the status quo.
Great book, simply and warmly written. Go on – buy it.
Page last updated: April 2010