So You Want to Be a Writer
Here are my resources for aspiring writers.
I used my Chemistry lab as my second writing requirement1 in college. That’s how much I hated writing.
But then I became a pastor and had to speak and write weekly. Then I was asked to write for some online publications. Then I took a job as an editor. Then I took a job as a managing editor.
God has a sense of humor.
That led me to do a deep dive into available books about growing in the craft of writing. I promised to provide my list a while back. Here they are:
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King2
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott
Building Great Sentences: How to Write the Kinds of Sentences You Love to Read, Brooks Landon
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard
The War of Art, Stephen Pressfield
Creativity, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi3
Writing Creative Nonfiction, Tilar JJ Mazzeo
Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, Mason Currey
That is just a start. In addition to reading books on writing, I have two other pieces of advice.
Pick some essayists you like and read everything they’ve written. Some of my favorites are CS Lewis, David Foster Wallace, Wendell Berry, Michel de Montaigne, and Seneca.
Write every day you can. The prescribed amount is 750 words. The prescribed method is longhand.4
The world could do with a few more capable writers in whatever walk of life you find yourself. I hope this list helps. And feel free to leave resources that have helped you in the comments.
I’m now a little over eighteen months into professional coaching. I’m nearing the 300 hours of coaching mark. And I’ve had the joy of celebrating the conclusion of a few coaching engagements as well as onboarding some new clients. When people ask me to describe what I do, I use four words: I support dangerous men. I count it a distinct privilege to coach the men I do. If you’re one of them, thank you.
The requirement was twenty or more pages of written work in any class. I took the Chemistry honors track at UVA and wrote a molar ton of words about pipets and substrates.
I wish the best book on writing wasn’t written by a horror novelist. But it is.
That is his name. And I can never pronounce it.
It really is a good exercise.