Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle
In this classic memoir of faith and art, L’Engle, who also wrote the children’s classic A Wrinkle In Time, explains that writers don’t write to get published. Rather, they write simply to write.
L’Engle explains that writing and any creative act is, in fact, incarnational. When we create, we embody the creative nature of God. She questions the false dichotomy between “secular” and “sacred” that many Christians make, claiming that all art can be Christian.
I read this from time to time when I need to remember why I write in the first place.
“How to Write a Book” by Donald Miller
Donald Miller, bestselling author of Blue Like Jazz, tells in this article how he writes a book. For Don, content isn’t the most important part of writing a book. How you tell it, or literary voice, is the most important for him.
If you’ve ever read one of Miller’s books, you know why.
“Sh*tty First Drafts” by Anne Lamott
Anne Lamott has a wonderfully unique and frank way of describing life, faith, and writing. Her basic premise in this brief article is that every first draft you write is terrible. I read this in a writing class in college, and it changed the way I approached writing. I no longer obsessed over writing something great on the first try.
Lamott’s point is that writing is a process that requires patience and grace with yourself.
Permission Marketing by Seth Godin
Seth Godin turns traditional business and marketing thinking on its head. In Permission Marketing, he puts the customers, not the marketers, in control of how products are advertised and purchased. This is where any successful business, entrepreneur, or idea-maker will have to go in order to succeed in the Information Age: asking permission to share a message, in which you turn strangers into friends and friends into customers.
Godin’s blog and other material (including many free ebooks) have been an inspiration for creativity and innovation to me.
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
I don’t know why I went so long without reading this book. Pressfield’s The War of Art is a must-read for any writer. This manifesto for creatives longing to overcome “The Resistance” is both inspiring and challenging. It combines the art and science involved in being a writer. This short read presents the reality of the creative life, which is contingent on both inspiration and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears.
Reader: beware. Pressfield will kick you in the butt with this gem.