Monday, January 26, 2009

Writing Resources

The time has come, the walrus said, for the teacher side of me to emerge. Today's suggested writing how-to is by William Zinsser (On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction, reprinted over and over again, is now in its 30th anniversary edition, 336 pp., and is published by Collins). This book has been around forever, and its author is refreshingly honest and does not mince words about how difficult writing can be. However, he also offers straightforward writing advice, and is one of the basics I put on any bibliography or list of books I recommend to students. 

Another inspirational book is by Barbara Ueland, and is one of my favorites: If You Want to Write: A Book About Art, Independence, and Spirit, brief at 164 pages, published by bnpublishing (their lower-case, not mine). This was written originally way back in 1938, but nothing that has been written more recently adequately addresses the fears writers face, the inadequacies, all the uphill slog that most writers must battle with before they can ever get a word written. This book in particular is where I would suggest all writers begin, or read if they ever feel low, depressed, or stuck.  (The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron is another one that is very helpful about gently guiding you toward creation, but Cameron owes a lot to Ueland.)

Books written by writers are too often self-serving, but I found Stephen King's (On Writing, reprinted 2002, Pocket Books), really helpful, surprisingly so, since he's a horror writer. His knowledge of overall writing principles is very wise, and he is entertaining but sincere in his approach and tone of voice. 

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