"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Monday, July 8, 2013

Writing Is Not a McDonald's Hamburger

“Writing is not a McDonald’s hamburger. The cooking is slow, and in the beginning you are not sure whether a roast or a banquet or a lamb chop will be the result.”

-Natalie Goldberg Writing Down the Bones
I recently picked up a copy of Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. I’m only about 45 pages into to it, and I’ve never read anything else she has written. I am enjoying her voice immensely.
While books on the craft can be helpful, I enjoy the ones that are part biography and offer a glimpse of the author’s personal space, process, and lessons. Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird and Stephen King’s On Writing are two others I enjoyed.

Have you read any of these? Did you enjoy them? What are you reading now? Do you have any recommendations?


Stelios Perdios said...

My creative writing teacher, back in high school, loaned me her copy of Writing Down the Bones, which also included Wild Mind. I think both are great for any writer to read, especially beginners.

Back then, I think my teacher understood I was having trouble giving myself permission to write what I wanted. It's hard to be creative when growing up in an environment (aka public school) that's really doesn't reward creativity, but following directions, being a "goody-two-shoes" as Goldberg puts it.

I hope you continue enjoying it!

On Writing , of course, is a good one. I've haven't heard of Bird by Bird.

I recommend the The War of Art and Going Pro by Steven Pressfield, especially if you're prone to procrastination... like me. ;)

Patrick Stahl said...

The only one of those I have read is On Writing. I loved the memoir parts. The writing advice was mostly good, although his opinions on muses and television annoyed me, along with a few other notions of his.

D.G. Hudson said...

I've read Stephen King's On Writing, Joseph Bell's Revision and Self Editing, and Don Maass' Fire in Fiction. Liked all three. I need how-to more than motivation.

I've gleaned the most from these three.

Anonymous said...

Read Stephen King's book and really like it. Great insights into his writing process. Must try this ime as well.

Sylvia Ney said...

Stelios - I have not read anything by Pressfield. I'll have to look into those - guilty procrastinator here as well! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I haven't read any of the books, will look out fot one to read.


Julie Luek said...

I am working my way through this book too. I think if I hadn't read Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way" I would be enjoying it more, but a lot of he messages are the same. Still, it's inspiring and that's a great quote!

Rob-bear said...

Thanks for the though, Sylvia. I should check out some of those writers. The idea of biography and sharing skills in enticing.

Blessings and Bear hugs!
Bears Noting
Life in the Urban Forest (poetry)

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Haven't read up much on craft, really read more about the writing market.

Dana said...

I've read all of those, and they're wonderful. Right now, I'm reading Goldberg's Wild Mind. It's great so far, too.

Have a nice Tuesday.

Mary Horner said...

I also love King's book, and you make a good point about combining the lessons with experience

Sarah Chafin said...

I haven't read any of those yet. I've been wanting to read "On Writing" for awhile now. I will have to add the other two to my list! One of my favorite books on writing is "Writing Magic" by Gail Carson Levine. It is written for children but it is still an exceptional book.

Rebecca said...

I enjoyed reading On Writing. It was a fascinating look into what makes Stephen King tick. Another author memoir I enjoyed was Boy, by Roald Dahl. Not much on the writing process, but lots of insight into the mind of a great writer.