Books for Writers

Books for Writers

The Artist’s Way

Product Description: Julia Cameron’s bestseller The Artist’s Way has sold over two million copies worldwide. In this elegant engagement calendar, Cameron shows you creative ways to apply the principles of The Artist’s Way every day of the year. Illustrated with beautiful images from the collection of the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.

The Writer’s Portable Mentor

Product Description: The Writer’s Portable Mentor: A Guide to Art, Craft, and the Writing Life distills 20 years of teaching and creative thought by the well-published author Priscilla Long. The Writer’s Portable Mentor helps writers understand and incorporate the regular practices of virtuoso creators; provides a guide to structuring literary, journalistic, or fictional pieces or entire books; opens the door to the sentence strategies of the masters; provides tools for developing a poet’s ear for use in prose; trains writers in the observation skills of visual artists; and guides them toward more effective approaches to getting their work into the world.

Writing Down the Bones

Product Description: The beloved author of Writing Down the Bones, Wild Mind, and Long Quiet Highway has inspired a generation of writers with her insight, humor, and empathy.  This writing book helps people break through writer’s block and inspires creativity.

The Pen and the Bell

Product Description: Proposing that contemplation is an active practice that can take place anywhere, anytime–in the Volkswagen repair shop, at the Farmer’s Market, at PetSmart–Brenda Miller and Holly J. Hughes share experiences that have helped them bring mindfulness and new avenues of expression into their writing.

Each chapter of The Pen and the Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World includes suggested readings and activities, offering writers innovative ways to:
*    create physical and mental space for contemplation and writing
*    heighten awareness as a basis for writing
*    use the ancient art of Lectio Divina (sacred reading)
*    practice writing that articulates the concrete, tactile, sensory world

Tell It Slant


Product Description: When the poet Emily Dickinson wrote, “Tell all the Truth but tell it Slant,” she provided today’s writers of creative nonfiction some sound advice: tell the truth but don’t become mere transcribers of day-to-day life. Whether you are writing a memoir or researched essay, the award-winning authors will guide you along the journey, using intensive instruction and an abundance of writing exercises. You will learn how to find a distinctive voice, use prompts to get started and keep writing, discover stories in impossible places, tackle (and enjoy) background research, and more.

This second edition includes a new chapter on publication–print, digital; an update on “The Particular Challenges of Creative Nonfiction” chapter to include references to James Frey and other controversies regarding nonfiction ethics; and an expanded resource section and bibliography.

Bird by Bird : Some Instructions on Writing and Life

From the Publisher: “Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’”

The Discovery of Poetry: A Field Guide to Reading and Writing Poems

Product Description: The bestselling author of Under the Tuscan Sun brings poetry
out of the classroom and into the homes of everyday readers.

Before she fell in love with Tuscany, Frances Mayes fell in love with verse. After publishing five books of poetry and teaching creative writing for more than twenty-five years, Mayes is no stranger to the subject. In The Discovery of Poetry, an accessible “field guide” to reading and writing poetry, she shares her passion with readers. Beginning with basic terminology and techniques, from texture and sound to rhyme and repetition, Mayes shows how focusing on one aspect of a poem can help you to better understand, appreciate, and enjoy the reading and writing experience. In addition to many creative and helpful composition ideas, following each lyrical and lively discussion is a thoughtful selection of poems. With its wonderful anthology from Shakespeare to Jamaica Kinkaid, The Discovery of Poetry is an insightful, invaluable guide to what Mayes calls “the natural pleasures of language-a happiness we were born to have.”

Escaping Into the Open: The Art of Writing

Product Description:
Elizabeth Berg touches women’s lives with heartbreakingly funny and true novels — including the New York Times bestseller Talk Before Sleep — that distinctly capture the essence of their lives. Now this critically acclaimed author and writing instructor offers an inspiring, practical handbook on the joys, challenges, and creative possibilities inherent in the writing life.

Both autobiography and primer, Escaping into the Open interweaves Elizabeth Berg’s story of her own journey from working mother to published novelist with encouraging advice on how to create stories that spring from deep within the heart.

With wit and honesty, Elizabeth Berg provides numerous exercises that will unleash individual creativity and access and utilize all of the senses. Most important, she tells how to fire passion — emotion — into writing itself; to break through personal barriers and reach one’s own outer limits and beyond.

The Essential Writer’s Notebook

Product Description: This beautiful journal/workbook, illustrated by the authors own paintings, provides the perfect opportunity for would-be writers, as well as those seeking a fresh approach to their work, to learn simple techniques that will help them master the basics of the craft. Inspired by Zen Buddhism, the book provides a complete step-by-step mini-course on how to write clearly and powerfully. Abundant lined pages can be used for writing practice.

The Great Failure : A Bartender, A Monk, and My Unlikely Path to Truth

Product Description: In this wry, nimble memoir, Natalie Goldberg candidly depicts her father, Ben, an old-fashioned man’s man who knew no boundaries — a trait that was at once his greatest strength and most profound weakness. In capturing the essence of this larger-than-life Jewish bartender, she reveals the intricacies of a precarious father-daughter relationship. The tenuous bond with her father leads her in many directions and ultimately to Dainin Katagiri Roshi, a dynamic, celebrated Zen master. In light of an eye-opening discovery that shakes her ideal of this beloved teacher, Goldberg revisits her many years of loyal practice under Roshi’s guidance.

Elegantly weaving these tales together, this story is finally a search for truth when there are no easy answers. Filled with Goldberg’s trademark gifts for both humor and teaching, The Great Failure touches our hearts and minds as we come to recognize the ways in which we fail to confront our illusions.

In Brief: Short Takes on the Personal

Product Description: An exciting new anthology by the editors of the popular In Short, about which Publishers Weekly said: “Even readers skeptical of short-attention-span publishing will find these shorts addictive.” In their previous collection Judith Kitchen and Mary Paumier Jones coined the term “short” for those creative nonfiction pieces –literary rather than informational, and characteristically short –that are attracting our finest writers. Now, with a more introspective focus, this new collection emphasizes the personal as “a way of seeing the world, of expressing an interior life. It is intimate without being maudlin, it is private without being secret.” From Harriet Doerr’s recollection of a halcyon time to Josephine Jacobsen’s reverie on memory, In Brief offers vivid glimpses into the ways experience can be shaped in language that is fresh and inventive. The seventy-two authors here include the known –John McPhee, Cythia Ozick, James Salter –as well as remarkable new writers. Essays (all under 2000 words) range from Frank McCourt’s search for his father in the pubs of Limerick to William Maxwell’s thoughts about growing old; from Charles Baxter’s early experience of reading to Brady Udall’s confession as a liar. Patricia Hampl recalls meals at her grandmother’s house, while Jane Brox contemplates the meaning of bread. In each piece, imagination becomes a way to explore reality. The real world we are fortunate enough to live in is revealed as endlessly rich and deep.

Living Color: A Writer Paints Her World

Product Description:
Join the bestselling author of Wild Mind and Writing Down the Bones as she explores a new realm of creativity–the world of color–and offers us an intimate view of how everyday life is transformed into art.

In twelve high-spirited chapters, Natalie introduces us to her family, her artist friends, her New Mexico home, her painting trips to Europe–always focusing on the questions faced by any creative person, whatever their medium. Why, for example, does an artist choose some subjects and not others? (“I was crazy about the wrong-color sky and the heart-sinking beckoning of headlights on old cars,” she acknowledges.) How does a painter draw nourishment from another painter’s work? (“I didn’t want fancy art theories. I wanted a direct connection with the painting before me.”) When is it time to move into a new form? (“I had to go to an empty white canvas and find out what was within me.”)

More than 60 four-color reproductions of Natalie’s distinctive and joyous paintings appear throughout. The result is a feast for the eyes and a celebration of the creative spirit in action.

Long Quiet Highway : Waking Up in America

From Publishers Weekly: Goldberg’s effective, unadorned account of her own development and transformation through the practice of writing and the study of Zen Buddhism.

On Writing

Product Description: “Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon the publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported near-fatal accident in 1999 — and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it — fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.

Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew

From Booklist
Le Guin, a well-known science fiction writer who also has a reputation for excellence as a writers’ group leader, has put down on paper what she instinctively knows about the craft of writing and what she has learned from teaching it. The result is this instructive, supportive guide for writers who desire to be a productive member of a criticism group or want to pursue their art alone. Concerning the latter situation, Le Guin makes an important point: “Group criticism is excellent training for self-criticism, but until quite recently no writer[s] had that training, and yet they learned what they needed. They learned by doing it.” The author goes on to take the reader-writer through a cogent course touching on such topics as punctuation, syntax, repetition, adjective and adverb use, point of view, voice, and other necessary concerns in writing both fiction and nonfiction narratives. Illustrative examples from outstanding writers and exercises for the reader round out this noteworthy handbook. Brad Hooper

Thunder and Lightning : Cracking Open the Writer’s Craft

Product Description: In this long-awaited sequel to her bestselling books Writing Down the Bones and Wild Mind, Natalie Goldberg, one of the most sought-after writing teachers of our time, takes us to the next step in the writing process.

Youíve filled your notebooks, done your writing practice, discovered your original voice. Now what? How do you turn this raw material into finished stories, essays, poems, novels, memoirs?

Drawing on her own experience as a writer and a student of Zen, Natalie shows you how to create a field big enough to allow your ìwild mindî to wander ó and then gently direct its tremendous energy into whatever you want to write.

Here, too, is invaluable advice on how to overcome writerís block, how to deal with the fear of criticism and rejection, how to get the most from working with an editor, and how to learn from reading accomplished authors.

With humor and compassion, Goldberg recounts her own mistakes on the way to publication ó and how you can avoid the most common pitfalls of the beginning writer. Through it all there is a deep celebration of writing itself ó not just as the means to an end, but as a path to living a deeper, more fully alive life.

Top of My Lungs: Poems and Paintings : And the Essay “How Poetry Saved My Life

Product Description: In this powerful new collection of writing guru Natalie Goldberg’s poetry and artwork, the celebrated author of Writing Down the Bones focuses her attention on the shifting rhythms of interior life in probing, sensual meditations that both illuminate the mysteries of the past and bring a Zen-like insight into the wondrous simultaneity of all things.

Thousands of readers have embraced Natalie Goldberg’s inspirational books on creativity and writing. Now she brings to Top of My Lungs, her first poetry collection to be published in twenty-two years, the same uncompromising integrity and commitment. With full-color reproductions of the author’s original artwork and an introduction, “How Poetry Saved My Life,” which calls up the moment in Goldberg’s life when she dedicated herself to “something bigger than myself,” Top of My Lungs is a book to be treasured, a gift book, or a gift to oneself, for the over one million readers who tapped into their creativity through Natalie Goldberg’s perennial bestseller, Writing Down the Bones.

Walking in This World: The Practical Art of Creativity

From Booklist Cameron–poet, playwright, novelist, filmmaker, composer, and guru to the creative masses–engenders as much adoration as scorn; she is the artsy equivalent to Martha Stewart (sans the investment investigation). Cameron broke new ground with The Artist’s Way (1992), and now, two million copies later, she helps people improve their lives via a guided inquiry into their creative potential. This intermediate-level creative how-to uses her signature format and 12-week structure, which have worked so well for so many readers as they explore the often convoluted landscapes of their artistic psyches. To the catchphrases “Morning Pages” (her requisite three daily pages of longhand) and “Artist Date” (a weekly creative adventure),” now so well known they have entered a subculture vernacular, she adds another tool, “The Weekly Walk,” an aid to walking in this world with a renewed sense of childlike wonder. This is yet another milestone for Cameron as she advances her mission to illuminate creativity as a spiritual path, a compelling vision embraced by people of diverse faiths and backgrounds worldwide. Whitney Scott

The Wave in the Mind : Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader, and the Imagination

From the Inside Flap
Join Ursula K. Le Guin as she explores a broad array of subjects, ranging from Tolstoy, Twain, and Tolkien to womenís shoes, beauty, and family life. With her customary wit, intelligence, and literary craftsmanship, she offers a diverse and highly engaging set of readings. The Wave in the Mind includes some of Le Guinís finest literary criticism, rare autobiographical writings, performance art pieces, and, most centrally, her reflections on the arts of writing and reading.

Weekend Novelist

From the Publisher: During the week Robert J. Ray was a teacher. On weekends he learned the fiction writer’s craft and produced his first novel. He ended up selling six books in six years. The same success as a writer can happen to you.

His step-by-step program, the same one he uses himself and teaches in his popular fiction-writing class, organizes your writing around the weekends. Each weekend you work through the basics of character, scene, and plot, the construction of the novel in scenes and chapters, and the actual writing and editing of your book.

Weekend Novelist Writes a Mystery

Product Description: Like Agatha Christie and Raymond Chandler, Sara Paretsky and Thomas Harris, you, too, can learn the trade secrets of quality detective fiction.

It’s true. Just one year from now, you can deliver a completed mystery novel to a publisher–by writing only on weekends. Authors Robert J. Ray and Jack Remick guide you through the entire mystery-writing process, from creating a killer to polishing off the final draft. Each weekend you’ll focus on a specific task–learning the basics of novel-writing, the special demands of mystery-writing, and the secrets professionals use to create stories one scene at a time, building to a shivery, satisfying climax. Using Agatha Christie’s The Body in the Library as a model for the classical mystery tale and Martin Cruz Smith’s Gorky Park for the hard-boiled mystery, this unique step-by-step program gives you all the information you need to reach your ultimate goal: a finished book in just 52 weeks!

Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life

Product Description: Natalie Goldberg, author of the bestselling Writing Down The Bones, teaches a method of writing that can take you beyond craft to the true source of creative power: The mind that is “raw, full of energy, alive and hungry.”

Here is compassionate, practical, and often humorous advice about how to find time to write, how to discover your personal style, how to make sentences come alive, and how to overcome procrastination and writer’s block — including more than thirty provocative “Try this” exercises to get your pen moving.

And here also is a larger vision of the writer’s task: balancing daily responsibilities with a commitment to writing; knowing when to take risks as a writer and a human being; coming to terms with success and failure and loss; and learning self-acceptance — both in life and art.

Wild Mind will change your way of writing. It may also change your life.

The Writing Life

Amazon.com: Annie Dillard has spent a lot of time in remote, bare-bones shelters doing something she claims to hate: writing. Slender though it is, The Writing Life richly conveys the torturous, tortuous, and in rare moments, transcendent existence of the writer. Even for Dillard, whose prose is so mellifluous as to seem effortless, the act of writing can seem a Sisyphean task: “When you write,” she says, “you lay out a line of words…. Soon you find yourself deep in new territory. Is it a dead end, or have you located the real subject? You will know tomorrow or this time next year.” Amid moving accounts of her own writing (and life) experiences, Dillard also manages to impart wisdom to other writers, wisdom having to do with passion and commitment and taking the work seriously. “One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place…. Something more will arise for later, something better.” And, if that is not enough, “Assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients,” she says. “That is, after all, the case…. What could you say to a dying person that would not enrage by its triviality?”

This all makes The Writing Life seem a dense, tough read, but that is not the case at all. Dillard is, after all, human, just like the rest of us. During one particularly frantic moment, four cups of coffee and not much writing down, Dillard comes to a realization: “Many fine people were out there living, people whose consciences permitted them to sleep at night despite their not having written a decent sentence that day, or ever.” –Jane Steinberg

The Writer’s Life: Insights from the Right to Write

Product Description: In her groundbreaking book The Right to Write, Julia Cameron dismantled the mythology surrounding the writing life in our culture. Tackling issues such as time, mood, inspiration, and support, she revealed that writing is in fact a natural-and crucial-part of life. Questions of how, when, and why yielded to the virtual tool kit of strategies, tips, and tools she provides in this extremely valuable book. With The Writer’s Life, Cameron’s pivotal insights and pointers are distilled in a tiny, portable companion that will help readers lead a writer’s life more easily, joyfully, and powerfully.

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