In 2009 I did a one-hour workshop called Let’s Write a Mystery at the Northern Colorado Writers Conference in Fort Collins, Colorado. As part of that workshop, I prepared a handout which included a list of written and web resources. Today, I’m giving you my list of books to inspire and motivate. Tomorrow’s list will include books on writing, revision, and self-editing.
You’ll have read many of these books already, but perhaps you’ll find a new treasure as well:
The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity [10th Anniversary Edition] by Julia Cameron (2002) Tarcher/Putnam.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott (1995) Anchor.
How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author by Janet Evanovich (2006) St. Martin’s Griffen.
Seven Steps on the Writer’s Path: The Journey from Frustration to Fulfillment by Nancy Pickard and Lynn Lott (2003) Ballantine/Random House.
Thinking About Memoir by Abigail Thomas (2008) AARP/Sterling – The memory exercises are a great way to recall incidents/experiences and people from your past that can trigger ideas and/or enrich your stories.
Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg (2005) Shambhala.
Writing from Life: Inner Workbook by Susan Wittig Albert (1997) Tarcher (this one is especially for women)
Do you have any new motivational books for writers to add to this list? We all need a little inspiration from time to time.
Jane Kennedy Sutton says
I printed off this list of books as well as those mentioned in the comments, so I’m all set for my next trip to the library or bookstore.
I’ve have had The Observation Deck by Naomi Epel for years but I just recently dug it out again. I can’t believe I’ve ignored it for so long. It’s described as “a fascinating compendium of the devices that professional writers have concocted over the years in order to trick themselves into writing better – or writing at all.”
Terry Odell says
I’m more into craft books, because I’m always wanting to write. It’s trying to do it better that creates the stumbling blocks. To that end, I rely on “The First Five Pages”, “Self Editing for Fiction Writers” and “38 Common Writing Mistakes”.
I guess I prefer trying to ‘fix’ something when I’m having trouble. I have Bird by Bird on my shelf, but have yet to do more than skim it. I’m more likely to pick up “Forensics for Dummies” to get motivated.
Kathleen A. Ryan says
Thanks for the list. I’ve read most, but a few I haven’t gotten around to, so I will work on that during my next trip to the library! I love these kinds of posts, as the commenters always come up with gems, too! A book that inspired me (although it may better fit your list for books on writing) is: The Modern Library Writer’s Workshop: A Guide to the Craft of Fiction by Stephen Koch. It was filled with valuable advice. As a result of reading his book, I checked out the books he mentioned, and they were all terrific.
“Writing Down the Bones” is one of my favorite. Great list. thanks.
The Old Silly says
Great list! I was also inspired reading Steven King’s “On Writing”. The first half, the autobiography, was very inspiring, reading how he was a starving artist for decades and never gave up until his breakout novel, “Carrie” vaulted him into “overnight” success.
BTW, thanks for the tip on the Ray Stevens clip. What a gas! I liked it so much I’m posting it tomorrow on my blog tomorrow.
Marvin D Wilson
Mason Canyon says
Good reference material. Thanks for sharing. A couple of these I’ll have to add to my collection.
Elizabeth Spann Craig says
Thanks for the reference ideas! I think I need something new to look at. Nice recommendations in the comments, too!
Mystery Writing is Murder
Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen
Michele Emrath says
Thank you, Patricia! It’s always good to be inspired. And I can’t imagine anything much more inspiring than Colorado! You are a lucky woman.
Journaling Woman says
I will be reading some of these.
Jemi Fraser says
There are some new ones for me on here – thanks for the list 🙂
Karen Walker says
“Voice of the Muse” by Mark David Gerson. Ranks right up there with “Bird by Bird” and “Writing Down the Bones” for me.
Elspeth Antonelli says
Best book I’ve ever read: Write Away by Elizabeth George. It’s the only writing manual I’ve ever bought. I’ve read several, but most just make me mad.
Hope your manuscript is going well; I’m thinking of you!
Elizabeth Bradley says
I collect books about writing and the creative process in general, (I am a designer too), and I have to say, The Husband brought the first book on your list home and we both LOVE it. Julia Cameron went to so much trouble to write an extraordinary work. And the second book on your list is one of my faves! Not bad, two out of seven.