Twelve Fire-Starters for Your Writing Projects

Last Update: May 02, 2018

The new format here at WA is absolutely amazing and beautiful and it inspires me so I wanted to write a little essay. I recently gave a three day workshop on writing, and I prepared this list for the wonderful women who attended. I wanted to share it here for you as well. enjoy.

Book & Essay Recommendations for Writers of the Personal Essay and/or Memoir

One of the ways writers write is to read. By reading the works of others we admire, or essays that touch on a subject we are writing about, we learn ways to craft our own prose. The books and essays listed below are ones I have used in my own writing and that I highly recommend. You will find the very best writing that will inspire your own projects.

  1. One of the first essays I like to look at is by Anne Lamott called “The Shitty First Draft.” It is helpful for all writers —-beginners to advanced—because we all share a common malady, the paralysis that comes from perfectionism, or from just thinking we aren’t good enough.
  2. The Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative non-fiction contains amazing examples of essays you can read to inspire your own project. You’ll find essays on every subject.
  3. Tell It Slant is absolutely an essential because it provides a treasure trove of ways you can approach your writing project.
  4. William Zinsser’s, On Writing Well, is one of the best for refining your writing.
  5. Read any essay by John McPhee.
  6. Read anything written by Anne Lamott, like Bird by Bird
  7. This is an old favorite. Starting From Scratch, A Different Kind of Writers' Manual, by Rita Mae Brown.
  8. This is an excellent book for ways to write a memoir Old Friend from Far Away, Natalie Goldberg.
  9. The best book I have ever found on grammar. Just the best. It was written by one of my instructors, and I have a signed copy. Love it. Rhetorical Grammar
  10. Every writing library needs one of these: Strunk & White
  11. Recommended by the journalists I worked with at a daily newspaper. Writing Tools, Roy Peter Clark
  12. An old favorite, hard to find. How a Writer Works, Garrison

So take a look at these and then let me know what you think. If you have any questions about any of them or would like a personal recommendation, just let me know.

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CoraMitchell Premium
This is great information and I appreciate you sharing your knowledge and tools of the trade with us.
Have a blessed day!

leitah Premium
Thanks, Cora. Thanks for reading and commenting. Leita
LouisaB Premium
Thank you for sharing this information!
codevonish Premium
Thanks for sharing. Will take note
CherylK Premium
All awfully good suggestions, Leitah. Thanks for posting this.

Anything by Anne Lamott is excellent. The Little Red Writing Book by Brandon Royal and Lynne Truss' books (especially Eats, Shoots and Leaves) are favorites, too. And I still love Roget's International Thesaurus. It's just fun looking up words in that reference book.

How, may I ask, did you get the italics to work? Did you write this in Google Docs and copy & paste or am I just not seeing the editing tools here?
leitah Premium
Hi, Cheryl, Thanks for reading my post and for commenting, and for offering your excellent suggestions as well. I have heard of East, Shoots....., but have not read it yet. You might also like Foyles Philavery.

The italics option appears as a lower case i in the horizontal editing menu bar in both "blog" and "write an article" here. I just highlighted each word, then clicked. I don't like to import formatting from other files because that sometimes causes glitches. So I remove the formatting generally.

Enjoy Arizona, I have friends there too.

CherylK Premium
Thanks! :-)