To become a strong writer there are three things that must be done. One, writing daily and with great austerity. Two, read great writings of all kinds. Three, read great books on writing. This blog post is all about the latter. Here we will review the five best notebooks on the market. Let them inspire you and bring out creativity that you feel latent in you and seem inaccessible to …
- If you want to be a strong writer there are three things you must do.
- One, write every day and do it with great austerity.
- Two, read great writings of all kinds.
- Three, read great books on writing by expert authors.
This article will focus on the latter. Books on how to write are a legion, in large part because there are so many people interested in writing and hungry for craft material. But good books on writing are few and far between. I have read a ton of them, but only a few have passed the muster. So let’s review my selection of notebooks that I recommend for aspiring, accomplished writers.
Before I begin, let’s look at this information through the proper prisms. The purpose of reading books on writing is to keep ourselves inspired and to improve on the craft, to continue to make us better at what we do. We are never too experienced to learn more. With that in mind, here’s my all-star lineup – minus the excellent but always mentioned On Writing Well by William Zinsser and The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White.
Here’s how Pressfield describes his own writing process in The War of Art:
“I sit and dive. When I start making typos, I know I’m getting tired. It’s four hours or so. I’ve hit a point of reduced returns. I’m wrapping up for today. … How many pages did I produce? I don’t care. Are they any good? I didn’t even think about it. What’s important is I’ve put in my time and hit it with everything I have. What matters is that, for today, for this session. I have overcome Resistance. “
One more point from Pressfield.
He correctly points out that the difference between a wannabe writer and a wannabe writer is that the writer understands that overcoming the Resistance and sitting down to write is actually more difficult than the writing itself. The battle that was about to begin was the greatest battle of all.
The Artist Way by Julia Cameron.
A prolific writer himself and author of many books on writing, Cameron tutors a technique called The Morning Pages which involves sitting down first thing each morning and writing without stopping until you’ve filled three pages with content. Fill the pages with whatever comes to mind, no matter how trivial or self-obsessed. Like Cameron said, you can’t do the Morning Pages wrong. Do this every morning and some magic things start to happen. You may find personal insights. You may have a psychological breakthrough. From a writing point of view you will train yourself to put aside internal editors and only write without regard for the quality of what you produce. Then, when you do your writing for publication, you’re more likely to let it flow without the tyranny of an internal editor casting aspersions on your ever word choices and sentence construction. After opening the gates of the subconscious mind – the fountain of creativity – it can begin to assert itself.
If You Want To Write by Brenda Ueland.
As the subtitles say, this is a book about art, independence and passion. Ueland encourages us to be frivolous when we write. Become a pirate, he said. Be a lion. We have that luxury because no real harm comes from writing no matter how reckless we produce it. He begins several chapters by quoting the great poet William Blake, in one case using this sleazy quote from Blake: “It is faster to suffocate a baby in her cradle than the will of an unreacted nurse.” Obviously, Ueland is an adrenal writer, one who treats the writing process like a moth treats fire.
In If You Want to Write Ueland says:
“I have kept a dirty, headlong, helter-skelter diary for years. This is what it has done for me: It has shown me that writing speaks, thinks on paper. And more and more. impulsive and direct writing is getting closer to thinking, which should be. It makes me feel like writing.
In all these years it was the most boring, dreaded, and easy thing to do – doubtless, ego-inflated. “
Give the woman a cutlass and a horse and everything about her writing changes. Attitude and perspective are everything when it comes to writing.