Wednesday, January 13, 2010

5 Books That Changed My Writing Life

Looking back over the past decade as a writer, there were defined moments when I made shift in what I was doing or thinking. Those moments all happened after reading a certain book. I always knew books were powerful tools, but as I reflect back on the past ten years, I realize just how strong their impact can be.

Here is the my writing journey, shared by the books I read.

The Successful Writer's Guide to Publishing Magazine Articles by Eva Shaw
I had just made the decision to write for magazines. Not knowing anything about it, I sought after any information I could. Eva Shaw happened to be speaking at our local Barnes & Noble, so I went to hear her speak about her book. I left excited about all the possibilities and her book, an amazing tool that started me down the path of writing for magazines.

2010 Writer's Market
This book opened up the world of publishing to me and I soaked it up. I would scour the pages looking for markets like I was looking for buried treasure. With a highlighter, pen and sticky notes, I would mark all the potential markets I wanted to submit articles too.

Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer: How to Win Top Writing Assignments by Jenna Glatzer
I found Jenna's book a few years after I started writing for magazines. It was the beginning of the internet and email and I was looking for a more updated book about being a freelancer. Her book was and still is amazing. I began teaching magazine writing classes and I recommended this book to all my students. I often say, that if I was to write a book about writing for magazines, it would be just like Jenna's.

The Success Principles(TM): How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield
About five years into my writing journey, a friend and I decided to do a book study with Canfield's book. We set weekly goals on how much we would read and then we got together to talk about the it. Over the course of a few months we went through the book and had done everything in it. It was because of this book that I created my personal mission statement, "To use my God-given talents to support and encourage other writers as they pursue their dreams." My focus and path shifted to helping others. This lead to the formation of Northern Colorado Writers.

On Writing
by Stephen King
I read this book last year and I was on fire after I read it. I found it inspiring, honest and full of useful information. It was eyeopening to realize that even Stephen King struggled to get published. It helped to clarify some things for me and I now plan to revisit the book at least once a year in order to stay on the right track.

What books made a strong impact on you and your writing life?


Carol Kilgore said...

Besides ON WRITING, the book that made the most difference in my writing was DON'T MURDER YOUR MYSTERY by Chris Roerden.

Lisa Romeo said...

I too love King's book. A few that are standouts for me, each for such differing reasons:

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman
Making a Literary Life by Carolyn See.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Chris Roerden's books also top my list. "Don't Murder Your Mystery" is excellent. For fiction writers, I also recommend Sol Stein's "Stein on Writing." And for inspiration, motivation, and discipline, I like Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way: Creativity as a Spiritual Practice."

Kerrie said...

Some of these are new to me and I will have to add to my list of books to read. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I like reading what others books people like. A lot of the ones I enjoyed have been mentioned. I'm in the middle of Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell and think it is great.

Anne Randolph said...

THE FICTION WRITERS WORKBOOK and WRITING FICTION STEP BY STEP, both by Josep Novakovich. Each booki is filled with refreshing essays and challenging exercises that help develop a short story or novel.
A 'must have' for any writer.
Anne Randolph

Libby James said...

Natalie Goldberg's WRITING DOWN THE BONES, is a favorite of mine and great way to get going on a regular writing practice.
Libby James

Share a Post