There’s something almost magical about The Daily Writer and its recent follow-up, The Daily Reader, both by professor and author Fred White.
They don’t teach you how to write a query letter or develop more realistic characters. There aren’t any worksheets or quick tips. You won’t find a single market to which you can submit your writing.
Instead, the books take a uniquely thoughtful approach to exploring and encouraging the art of writing daily and the careful practice of becoming well read. And, on top of that, the books are simply exquisitely written.
In The Daily Writer, you’ll find 366 meditations and exercises to help you awaken and nurture the spiritual side of writing throughout the year. In the introduction, Fred says:
Writing can be a deeply fulfilling spiritual experience, as well as an intellectual and artistic one. Consider: You are using words to convey your deepest thoughts and feelings, either to yourself by way of a diary, to your loved ones through letters, or to the whole world through poems, stories, essays, reportage, plays. Regardless of genre, you are wielding that most powerful, mind- and spirit-enhancing tool that civilization has ever invented, the tool of language, and you are doing so in ways that illuminate people’s lives, sometimes improving their lives in practical ways, while at the same time aesthetically delighting them.
Similarly, in The Daily Reader, you’ll find 366 short selections of great prose and corresponding exercises designed to help you better relate the material you read to your own daily writing. Of the importance of being a well-read writer, Fred says:
As a writer, you must also be an absolute sponge—a glutton—for a great many subjects, not just the ones that fascinate you the most. All knowledge is interconnected. If want to write psychological thrillers, you want to read deeply in psychology, medicine and health, anthropology, all sorts of literature (after all, literature is about the human condition, and psychology is central to human behavior), and of course, mystery and thriller fiction, if only to learn how the pros do it.
You can also read an online-exclusive interview with Fred White, in which he discusses the best piece of writing advice he’s ever received, common mistakes beginning writers make, and much more.