Here are some resources I’ve found that have been very helpful in my writing (and life). Keep checking back, I will continue to add resources as I find them. Enjoy!
Books (in no particular order)
Welty, Eudora. On Writing. New York: Modern Library, 2002. Print.
I bought my copy at Square Books in Oxford, MS. It’s a short little exposé on writing fiction by a true master. All of the chapters are filled with a lot of “meat.” I especially loved “Must the Novelist Crusade?” towards the end of the book.
“We start from scratch and words don’t; which is the thing that matters – matters over and over again” (60).
Hemley, Robin. Turning Life into Fiction. Minneapolis: Greywolf Press, 2006. Print.
I recommend this book to everyone. It is a very practical guide on using biographical elements to create works of fiction. Lots of interesting writing prompts and short exercises in this one. He makes a compelling (and important) case for writing fiction that is believable to readers. Most of all, I enjoyed Hemley’s point always keeping notebooks handy. There was also an excerpt from a short story about a dead squirrel in a pizza box that really intrigued me.
Gillard, John. The Creative Writer’s Notebook. New York: Metro Books, 2015. Print.
This is one of my favorite books on writing I have found so far. I came across it by accident, my Mom actually found it in the bargain section at Barnes and Noble. It’s a great little resource, the graphic design is very engaging. It examines the style and influences twenty of the most influential writers of the past century or so. At the end of each section there are 2-3 writing prompts tied in with the author’s style.
Baxter, Charles. The Art of Subtext. Minneapolis: Greywolf Press, 2007. Print.
Hi, Hemingway fans! This one is for you. Baxter’s style is warm and engaging, and he provides excellent examples in this short guide. In particular, I thought the chapter on staging scenes was very helpful.
Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. New York: Random House, 1994. Print.
An old classic. A friend from my writing group lent this to me a while back. This is not your typical guide to writing – in fact, it often feels like a memoir. But, if you’re a Hyper Sensitive Person (like me), I think you’ll get a lot out of this book. Lamott has a lot of experience, both in writing and in life, so she makes many compelling points about writing, publishing, etc. Her most important point is that all first drafts suck and good writers are people who push through frustration and disappointment.
Readers of “Chick-Lit” will probably know her as the author of Something Borrowed. I came across this page a few years ago when I was still struggling to make myself write. A lot of the writing guides I have read were suggestions on this page.
This hasn’t been updated in a while, but it’s a compiled list of places to get published in the South.
There have been a lot of studies lately about the roots of writer’s block. I remember reading once that Maya Angelou would simply write words on a page until something came to her. This is an excellent look at what this “Block” actually is and how we can “get out of our own way” to keep creating.
I found Professor Amy Hungerford’s lecture on Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood the other day and enjoyed it thoroughly. These Yale Courses are a great resource for notes on style as well as writing inspiration.
Do you ever find that an organized desk, car, life leads to a clearer head and better writing? I do.
Kondo, Marie. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 2014. Print.
I absolutely loved this book and almost couldn’t put it down. Through her KonMari method, Kondo offers thoughtful advice and iron-clad logic backing up reasons why we should all get rid of things that don’t bring us joy in life.
I have religiously kept a paper agenda since High School. This is one of the best I’ve come across yet. About five years ago, a visionary named Whitney English created a planner that is “part calendar, part organized to-do list, and part motivational tool.” Genius.
Disclaimer: Male readers, you might be a little turned off by the feminine color palette.
My mentor and friend gave this course to me as a gift and it ended up being a huge force in getting me to write. Donald Miller, also a writer, compiled a great tool for setting goals and ultimately creating a framework for a meaningful life. This one is a little tough at times because it asks you to dig deep in your past and examine your deepest hurts, but it’s all for a purpose and ended up being an extremely helpful tool for me.
The website says that registration is closed for this course, but you may be able to find some of the videos or content on Donald Miller’s website.
This is a resource that I go back to time and time again. Brian Johnson does the world a great service by reading books on philosophy, motivation, creativity, personal growth, etc. and summarizing them for the rest of us. My favorites so far have been his notes on The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo and Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.
If you like the videos, you can also download PDF’s at Brian’s website.
This is a great resource from London-based Yoga Expert and Wellness Warrior (also future Countess of Sandwich). I am a HUGE fan of Julie’s and her story has inspired me personally. Her blog has lots of great recipes for healthy eating, overall wellness, and inspiration. The advice section is particularly helpful. I especially loved her post on personal happiness.
To use the expression popularized by Black Gay Subculture in the mid 2010’s, Mimi Thorisson GIVES ME LIFE, YAAAAS! I started reading her blog after I saw her on the cover of Condé Nast Traveler Magazine. I remember sitting in the waiting room of a dermatologist’s office where I had an appointment for Alopecia Arriata. Basically, I was so stressed out and miserable at age 24 that a Silver Dollar-sized patch of my hair had fallen out of my head. Once I saw Mimi walking through a vineyard in France with two of her seven children and one of their fifteen dogs and I thought, “This is the life I want to live.” I have a picture of it on my vision board. Not kidding. Mimi’s blog is full of beautiful pictures of her life in Médoc, France and delicious recipes for you foodies.
Natasha Althoff’s wonderful resource for riding tips and inspiration. She’s an Australian Dressage athlete who competed at the Grand Prix. Most importantly, she has a winner’s attitude. If you’re not a rider, you probably won’t care about her videos like “How to Balance at the Canter” and “Improving your Sit Trot”, but her Motivation Monday videos are great. I especially loved this one.
Leandra Medine’s blog Man Repeller celebrates a wacky subculture of fashion that I find hilarious. I lover her writing style. There’s something really refreshing about such a big player in the fashion world not taking herself seriously at all.
Also, her book, Man Repeller: Seeking Love, Finding Overalls, had me laughing hysterically.
I’m a big nerd and love history. I grew up on Dear America and made a beeline to the Book Fair whenever a new book came out. The History Chicks do a great job at researching dynamic women in history and providing an in-depth discussion that’s not boring. This is my favorite podcast right now.
I love interior design. Love, love, love it. Have since I was a little girl watching Christopher Lowell turn trunks into coffee tables. I really enjoy creating settings and this could be a great inspiration tool. It’s also fun to look at gorgeous homes.