Writers on Writing

Why should we all use our creative power and write or paint or play music, or whatever it tells us to do? Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money. Because the best way to know the Truth or Beauty is to try to express it. And what is the purpose of existence Here or Yonder but to discover truth and beauty and express it, i.e., share it with others?  ~Brenda Ueland

Intention endangers creation. ~William Stafford

To let each impression and each embryo of a feeling come to completion, entirely in itself, in the dark, in the unsayable, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one’s own understanding, and with deep humility and patience to wait for the hour when a new clarity is born: this alone is what it means to live as an artist: in understanding as in creating.  ~Rainer Maria Rilke

WORK. RELAX. DON’T THINK.  ~Ray Bradbury

In no particular order, here are my favorite books on writing:

*Zen in the Art of Writing, by Ray Bradbury
*Writing the Australian Crawl and You Must Revise Your Life, by William Stafford
*Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott
*Writing Down the Bones and Wild Mind, by Natalie Goldberg
*On Writing, by Stephen King
*Letters to a Young Poet, by Rainer Maria Rilke
*If You Want to Write, by Brenda Ueland

…and a couple of titles on the creative process: 

*Free Play: The Power of Improvisation in Life and the Arts, by Stephen Nachmanovitch
*Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, by David Bayles & Ted Orland

And when we start taking ourselves too seriously, there’s always Steven Wright: “I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.” (See Wright on Writing.)


11 Responses to Writers on Writing

  1. jayskywalker says:

    Great blog! I especially like the Ray bradbury quote. He told me that when I met him a few years back. cool guy

  2. Claudia says:

    Some of these titles sound really good. I would be interested in seeing them.

  3. Teresa says:

    I love several of these too, and have not read some of them. Thanks for the suggestions!

  4. […] that as unconsciously as I can. “DON’T THINK,” is Ray Bradbury’s wise advice for writers. Thinking is the death of creativity, bringing with it judging, censoring, intention, […]

  5. […] can hardly believe I omitted one of my favorite books on creativity in a previous post: Robert Henri’s The Art Spirit. And now, looking for it on my bookshelf, I believe I must […]

  6. […] glad to add this book to my list of favorite books on writing and the creative process. I believe Resistance has a lot to do with why I blog. It is oh-so-much-easier than writing poetry. […]

  7. […] writers on writing (there’s an earlier post by that title). Today I broke down and bought a Moleskine notebook at Barnes & Noble. I’m […]

  8. […] Embodying Your Authentic Voice. I am definitely adding this one to my list of favorites (see Writers on Writing). Yesterday I shared it with Teresa, and we made a date to write together. […]

  9. […] Will Blythe. This book, the poem by Markova, and the many writers I have read on writing (see also Writers on Writing) have inspired me to think about the question for […]

  10. Great list, similar to my own:

    I particularly like books that reveal the writer’s difficulties and experiences writing – makes me feel less alone!

  11. […] have discovered two more favorite books on writing to add to my previous list: Writing From the Inside Out, by Dennis Palumbo and Writing Your Heart Out, by Rebecca McClanahan. […]

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