A Writing Reading List

A Writing Reading List

I don't know if it's me, but a lot of bloggers out there seem to assume that writing is just sitting at your computer and typing. Get your ideas in order and then write the post. But to me there is much more involved. Most people have a fear of writing, whether it be the blank page or the blank Wordpress post form.

I have read a lot of ebooks lately on blogging. They talk about coming up with ideas, setting a schedule for posting and writer's block but not much about the writing process itself. They have been doing it for a while, so it must be easy for anyone to do it. I have been writing for thirteen years with a few blank periods, but I still remember the difference between writing when it flows and writing when it's pulling teeth. There is much more involved then just sitting down and typing away.

Of course, every year new books on writing coming out. People are reading less and less books but it seems there is still a market on writing books. How ironic. I have read a lot of these books and would recommend about 10% of what I have read. Actually for bloggers and other nonfiction writers, there are four.

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

If you are having trouble getting anything down on paper, get this book and make it your Bible for a few months. It will pay off. This book treats writing as a practice. You write daily. You write without stopping until the end. You write until it's like riding a bike. That would all be easy if it weren't for the fact that as humans, we have a tendency of slacking. This book won't let you slack and will work around anyone's procrastination quirks. And writing as a practice makes sense. A concert musician didn't decide to be a musician and instantly gain the skill. It took practice. Don't be afraid. It's a very laid back book. No assignments, just suggestions.

Writing the Natural Way by Gabrielle Rico

This book trains you to use mind maps before you write. It's a great method when you know you want to write on a subject but are not sure what you have to say yet.

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

This is a classic and gets more into structure, grammar etc. But not in a boring way. I would almost read it if I wasn't learning to write and just wanted to read great writing.

Writing With Power by Peter Elbow

I have been looking for this book for years. It has been out of print for a while. But I just found it over the weekend at Barnes % Noble. I am only a few chapters in. This is a great book. The author gives you multiple methods of writing, getting ideas, and editing. If one doesn't work, try another. This book and Writing Down the Bones are the two I would suggest if you only pick two. If you are looking for the one, it's a toss up.

But everyone likes books that speak to them and these spoke to me. And it does help to get off the god damn computer every once and a while a read a real book.


Stephan Miller

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Kansas City Software Engineer and Author

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