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Books that encourage

I love books about writing.Books that explore the process, share the trials and joys of working, offer encouragement and advice.Inspirational books about the writing practice, the writing life. Lately I’ve been pulling my favorites off the bookshelf so I can have them near me when I write.

Here are some favorites I’ve been relying on lately:

1.A Writer’s Book of Days, Judy Reeves: This is my absolute new favorite. It’s big, almost the size of a notebook, and it’s structured by month.It’s filled with tidbits like “Writers and Their Day Jobs” (Charles Dickens pasted labels on bottles of shoe polish), quotes, essays, and writing exercises.Every day I’ve been opening the book randomly and completing the first writing exercise I see.It feels a bit like stretching my writing muscles before diving into a short story.

2.For Writers Only, by Sophy Burnham: A comforting book. On one side of the page there is a quote, on the other--a personal account which weaves in other writers’ (both famous and not) joys and hardships

3.Walking on Alligators, Susan Shaughnessy: Full of personal meditations for writers

4.If You Want to Write, Brenda Ueland: If anyone can make you feel like you can write, that you have the right to write, it’s this woman. The first chapter title says it all: Everybody is Talented, Original, and Has Something Important to Say.

5.The Writer’s Home Companion, James Charlton & Lisbeth Mark: I found this book in one of my favorite used book stores in town. It’s a tiny hardback. I love it because it focuses on mini stories about famous writers—about how they made it and the often funny bumps along the way.

Quote of the Day:

Only those that risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”-T.S Eliot

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Ignoring Your Characters’ Desires

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Listening to Ghosts: 7 Metaphysical Experiments for Writing Support

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Plot Twist Story Prompts: Dance Time

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Convention-al Wisdom: Why I Love Attending Cons as a Writer

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A century’s old family heirloom acted as a clue to the past for author Cornelia Maude Spelman. Here, she shares how to turn artifacts and research into a family memoir.

Miriam Parker: On Writing the Book You Want To Read

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Author and publisher Miriam Parker discusses her surprise at writing her new novel, Room and Board.

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Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a story poem.