Reading About Writing

pic courtesy of sfgate

A few years ago I started reading books by Anne Lamott and was immediately taken with her style of writing.  I read Traveling Mercies, then Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year, and Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith.  I also read some of her novels: Rosie and Crooked Little Heart.

Wow.  I had not realized I read so much of her work until I listed it all out.

I got all of those books from the library or borrowed them from friends.  I really enjoy her essays, a little less so her novels.  I think that, for a period, I didn't know what else to check out at the library so I just kept getting more of her books.  Then I saw Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, and bought it.  Like, straight up paid for it with my hard-earned cash.  This is unusual for me.  I have been in a monthly book club for almost three years and have bought maybe three of the books.  The rest- library or borrowed.  What can I say?  I'm a cheapskate. 


I started Bird by Bird, but never finished it.  She writes about (as the title states) writing.  How to start.  How to practice.  Other things.  Strangely, I never finished the one book by Anne Lamott that I actually purchased.  Analyze that, please.   

As is the custom at this point, I am about halfway through the month and find that my joy in this goal is waning.  Oh crap.  It is only the 12th.  So not even halfway.  Darn. 

I think I will resume Bird by Bird.  I could use something thought-provoking. 

Anyone have any other tips for books to read on the topic of writing OR on inspiration for writing in general?

I just know that if I had this setting for my writing, I would write and write all day without a care in the world:
from the lux home
Or I would get settled in my chair and think "Damn this lucite chair that always sticks to the back of my legs!". 


  1. I'm glad you cuss in your blogs. Those Mormons don't cuss in their blogs and it makes me feel like they think they're better than me.

  2. Doug once told me to write 1,000 words a day, no matter what.
    So. There's that.

  3. The Crosswick Journals by Madeleine L'Engle - it's a lot of her personal musings on life and family and God, but she also spends a significant amount of time thinking about being a writer. The first one - A Circle of Quiet - spends the most time on that topic.

  4. Walking on Water by Madeleine L'Engle. Drop everything and buy it now. Seriously one of the best books I've EVER read. It's byline is something like "Reflections on Faith and Art" and I have recommended it to everyone I know that has an interest in art - any art. But for a writer it's especially wonderful because HER art is writing. It's challenging, inspiring, interesting, practical. You will love it. I don't even own it anymore because I have loaned it out so many times that I finally lost track of it.

    Maybe I should be buying it again.... hmmm.....

  5. I love Anne Lamott too. I think I may have once called Traveling Mercies my bible.

    Sometimes listening to lyrics of particularly cleaver songs inspires me to write. Paul Curreri's music is pretty inspiring. His writing, and his music, is art to me. Listening to it is like opening a window into a new way of seeing the world.

  6. I can't think of the last time I read anything by Madeleine L'Engle. Thanks for the tips! Maybe I'll even cough up the money to buy it, and not just borrow it from the library!

    Cat- good suggestion on music as inspiration. Right now Red Hot Chili Peppers is on the radio and it makes me feel anxious and restless. Really says something about the power of music.


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