Reading Other Writers on the Path
I’ve read books that explain grammar and editing. While they offer necessary advice, those are not the ones I want to talk about here. I enjoy reading about writers discussing the journey, the weird, quirky, baffling journey that I’m on as a writer.
I thought I’d share a few of my favorites with you, the ones I’ll pick up off the shelf and dip into, reading where the book opens. In no particular order:
Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg
If you haven’t read this, run and pick up a copy. I remember the first time I began reading it. I was on the subway, squished between people on the long gray bench as the car rattled and swayed. I read a few of her essays and was filled with the sudden strong desire to write and had to close the book. I had to go to work and, sadly, there was no time. But really, how could I not like a book with chapters titled “Fighting Tofu” and “Do Not Marry the Fly?”
For Writers Only, by Sophy Burnham
I adore this book. Her comments are interspersed with quotes from many authors and they give me such a feeling of we’re all in this together and it’s all fine. Some quotes she gathered:
“The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.” —Agatha Christie
“Walking on water wasn’t built in a day.” —Jack Kerouac
“I don’t wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work. —Pearl Buck
The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear, by Ralph Keyes
We like to think we’re normal. But it’s easy to wonder, in the solitude of our chosen career, whether we really are. The simplest things attack our brains and Ralph Keyes goes a long way to bringing them out into the spotlight and helping them fade away.
One chapter starts off with this:
A friend of mine named Lorraine left an insurance company to become a writer. After a few days, Lorraine called to get some pointers about her new career. “You’ve been writing for a few years, right?” she began.
“Right,” I answered.
“Well, I have a very important question to ask you.”
“Do you get dressed in the morning or what?”
I read these words and a weight shifted off my shoulders. I was not alone in pondering this difficult question. In fact, opening his book at random to see what would be good to share made me realize it’s time to reread this one. See ya next week!