Today is one of those days when I break away from the usual interview posts and am happy to welcome a guest writer, who will share with us her list of seven books that will inspire! Thanks for joining us today, Marcela!
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Top 7 Books That Will Inspire Any Writer
Writing can be one of the most rewarding things in the world to do – when it’s going well. When you’re struggling or just feeling like everything you write is sub-par, it can feel like you’re Sisyphus and that blank page is your boulder.
Whether you’re just starting out as a writer or you’ve got a lot of experience under your belt, there are times when you just need some inspiration to keep the pen moving. These seven books can help provide that inspiration.
1. Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury is an interesting author in that his books have sold well, but he’s maintained critical popularity – something many authors have had trouble doing. Bradbury’s book is particularly inspiring because of how much he clearly enjoys the craft of writing. His spirit is infectious and there are few books as motivating as this one for aspiring writers.
Ray Bradbury signing a book for a young fan in 2004. Image Courtesy of Flickr
2. Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life by Natalie Goldberg
Goldberg’s book is a unique one when it comes to books by writers on writing, in that it basically outlines a practical method that new writers can really use. Goldberg skips the hyperbole and goes right into how you can find the time to write, how you can develop your own personal style and how you can overcome writer’s block when it strikes.
3. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Stephen King is one of the best-selling writers of all time. If you’re going to turn to any book for advice on writing, his is an excellent place to start. The book, which does contain many helpful tips for writers, is also a memoir that details his early struggles in life as well as with writing.
4. Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brand
Now a classic, “Becoming a Writer” is a book that should be taught in school – and is in some. Brand’s book is particularly effective in teaching writers with technical skill how to unlock subject matter through techniques that help harness the unconscious mind and how to slow down a speeding creative mind to capture the moment and mood of your thoughts.
5. Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg
Another book by Natalie Goldberg, “Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within” helps bring the concepts of Zen meditation and writing together. In Goldberg’s mind, the two are linked; understanding that can really help most writers.
6. The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation Into the Writing Life by Julia Cameron
Cameron’s book starts by asking the simple question “What if everything you knew about writing was wrong?” The book goes on to help authors think outside of the box and forget about modern writing protocol to create better, more powerful text.
7. Page After Page by Heather Sellers
Written in a style that’s humorous and easy-to-read, Heather Sellers’ book “Page After Page” is an excellent read for just-starting-out authors since it addresses the common issues of false starts and overwhelming self-doubt. Part educational, part motivational, Sellers’ book is a must-read for beginners.
Need More Inspiration?
If books about writing aren’t all that inspiring to you or you just need a little more inspiration, grab one of these books and take a break from your own writing. After all, every writer should continue to make reading a part of their daily life.
The Complete Short Stories of Bernard Malamud
Bernard Malamud was a masterful author when it came to creating complex characters that really shined in simple, moving stories. His writing may not be complex or full of obvious technical prowess, but Malamud’s work was clear, concise and effective like few others in history.
His short stories also make a great break from writing since many are quite short and can be read in less than 30 minutes.
The Collected Stories of William Faulkner
Another master of the short story form, Faulkner’s work is about as different as you could get from Malamud’s. Instead of simple, clear language, Faulkner is often verbose. It’s clear that run-on sentences weren’t a concern for the author.
A portrait of William Faulkner taken in 1954. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
While many criticized his style, the rule-breaking and incredible breadth of language could be wildly inspiring for a writer – even if you don’t plan on writing in a similar fashion.
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So, the next time you have writer’s block and are looking for some inspiration, consider taking a break from your own writing and relax with one of these books. You may like as to where it will lead you.
Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer in the Los Angeles area whose writing covers everything from health and alternative medicine to marketing, tech and travel. She also writes for Host Papa. Whenever she is having a difficult time with writing, she turns to a few of these books for inspiration and a fresh perspective.