Many people who knew me when are surprised at what I do now.
Once upon a time, I was a student of chemistry. I loved it. It still intrigues me to this day and I keep up on many of the more interesting biochemical news and research. And one day, undoubtedly, I will write a science fiction novel pulling on that very different side of me. But I suppose the two aren’t that far apart really. Writing and chemistry are about puzzles, pure and simple, and how different pieces fit together. The right combination can create something wondrous.
Writing it not something that comes naturally. It is a craft like any other, one that must be honed sharp to best effect. That honing requires knowledge and practice. Knowledge is the key. While practice is a crucial aspect of any writer’s life, we can practice all we want but if we are practicing the wrong things, we learn bad habits. Therefore, it is important to learn as well as work.
The learning can come in many forms. Some new writers visit writing retreats, where professionals dole out their wisdom in hopes of paying it forward. Other new writers form writing groups. They are invaluable. I definitely recommend doing both.
But every once in a while, I really enjoy reading a book on writing. There is just something about being able to re-read a passage if I want. Think on it, leave it, come back to it, and think on it some more.
When I first began this lunacy called a writer’s life, I floundered. I had difficulty writing in college. It’s not that the work wasn’t good; it just took me a long, frustrating time to get there. Then I read Sometimes the Magic Works by Terry Brooks. It changed my writing life. Because in its pages existed exactly what I had been missing. A semblance of structure. Of belief in myself. In learning the craft of publishing is not some magical thing but instead hard work and persistence.
I didn’t stop there though. I read a few other books, to see how other writers did it. I have to confess, I have adopted things from each one of the books below. I hope I can convince some of you to read them if writing is something you are interested in pursuing:
- Sometimes the Magic Works by Terry Brooks
- On Writing by Stephen King
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
- Write Away by Elizabeth George
- Steering the Craft by Ursula K. Le Guin
- The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler
So my question on this Friday is, “Have you read a book on writing?” Do you have any interest in writing? If so, what books have you read? If none, why not?
To read an excerpt from Sometimes the Magic Works, click HERE!