This week I would love to share with you two of the writing books that really helped me expand my skill set before I went to graduate school.
POEMCRAZY by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge: This book is a series of vignettes of the author’s life in relation to writing. As a teacher and avid hiker/walker as well as a writer, she incorporates writing exercises with snapshots of her daily life. Her chapters cover a wide variety of topics, from advice on how to gather the fragmented thoughts we have while we’re doing everything other than writing, to experiencing the death of a friend and working with those feelings. She writes a lot about how she found her identity as a writer, which I find fascinating because I love listening/reading about how others found this creative path that we also tread. Some of the writing exercises do build upon one another, so if you haven’t done the first few you may get thrown off if you start with a writing exercise right from the middle, but it’s not difficult to improve your way through it. All in all, it’s a fun “brain candy” book about writing that will give you interesting ideas.
WRITING DOWN THE BONES: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg: Originally published in 1986 (the year I was born 🙂 ), this is a classic that was expanded in 2005 and is probably one of the most well known writing guides out there in the USA.
If you’re not a fan of Goldberg’s work, that is totally okay, please share who you are a fan of in the comments.
Goldberg’s book is similar to Poemcrazy in that there are also snap shots of the author’s life but the majority of this book is strictly her thoughts on writing. How writing can be challenging and how to overcome those challenges. She touches on topics like free writing, editing, discipline, and the act/gesture of thinking as a way to bend towards the page. There are also some really good journaling prompts in this book. I like this and Poemcrazy because they both encourage you to explore what’s going on in your own brain and use that reflection as inspiration. Also, while Poemcrazy is strictly for poetry, although, you can certainly apply what you get to fiction/memoir/anything, Goldberg is not specific about genre and her work is open to any and all.
I’d love to know more about who inspires you, who are your favorite authors and what about them inspires you?
The September contest deadline is still far away but it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the guidelines.
Thanks for reading and have a great day!