by Kristi Mahoney
As writers we can learn any time of year, but it’s no secret that this industry slows down in the summer. Thankfully, as back-to-school time approaches, the crisp air often brings with it new possibilities and renewed inspiration. If you’re feeling ready to replace your beach bag with a book bag and fill it with new pencils, notebooks, and some back-to-school reading devoted exclusively to writers, we have just the list for you. It’s especially suited for those who already know the basics in their genre and are looking for some inspirational advice as they dive back into writing this fall.
Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” So this September, if you feel inspired—welcome back to school.
Dive into our BACK-TO-SCHOOL READING LIST FOR WRITERS:
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
Elizabeth Gilbert is perhaps most well-known for her bestselling book Eat Pray Love, but in my opinion, this book is her shining star. Through her own personal experiences and theories on inspiration, Gilbert empowers creators everywhere to overcome self-doubt, hindering perfectionism, and something almost all creatives can relate to – the dreaded imposter syndrome. I devoured this book the first time I read it and make it a point to read it again anytime I need a good creative kick. If you ever feel the same way, I urge you to do the same. Because, as creatives, there’s going to come a point you may have to ask yourself some tough questions. Are you brave enough to take that next step? Do you have the courage to put your work out there? Will you take the leap? In the words of Gilbert, “The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.”
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
I grew up loving Stephen King’s books, but although his stories are impeccably written and fascinating, his fiction work tends to steer darker than I can handle these days. Thankfully, I found this book, King’s first book after recovering from a near deadly car accident. It’s equal parts memoir and tangible craft advice, providing insights on everything from how King sold his first manuscript (after throwing it in the trash) to why you should remove almost every adverb in your work. The book is captivating, inspiring, and a great reminder of why King is one of the most well-known storytellers currently on this planet.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
There’s a lot of buzz around Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird in the writing community for good reason. You don’t have to look further than the title for the first big lesson in this book. It’s a reference from a piece of life-changing advice that Lamott’s father once told her brother who was panicking about having to finish a big school report on birds— “just take it bird by bird.” This is a simple yet profound reminder on how to tackle so many things we do as writers that might feel overwhelming. Lamott uses her sharp sense of humor and direct approach and expertly packs this short book with lots of candid real-life experiences and no-nonsense advice. Perhaps Lamott’s greatest reminder – we all have the possibility to get so much more out of writing than just a manuscript. We just have to take it day by day, word by word.
Bird by bird.
All three of these books are fantastic additions to the writer’s bookshelf, but if you happen to have the opportunity to listen to the audiobooks, I highly recommend them. Each one is narrated by the authors themselves, breathing added life and a sense of personalization into their already profound words. It’s tough to disagree when Stephen King tells you, “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
Now that summer vacation is over…
let the work begin!
Peruse blogs for advice and tips from KidLit creatives.
Click to set custom HTML
Click on the RSS Feed button above to receive notifications of new posts on this blog.