One of the questions I often get asked is what books inspired you as a writer? Although there are many I read both as a child and adult which would fit into this category, I wanted to list a couple books which were instrumental in my creative process from the very beginning.
The Artist Way by Julia Cameron–This is a fabulous book in discovering your creative self from writing to dancing to painting to music to everything else creative. The key tools in this book, which I still use to this day, are Morning Pages and Artist Dates. Morning pages are three handwritten pages a day. My morning pages are so important in helping me dump down that “chatter” in my head as well as brainstorm solutions to current story problems. Artist Dates are when I take myself out solo somewhere to refuel and recharge my creative self. My favorite artist dates currently are vintage markets which so inspire the current romance series I’m writing. But other artist dates have included day trips to Langley on Whidbey Island, trips to Farmer’s Markets in the summer, and exploring out of the way art galleries.
The Vein of Gold by Julia Cameron–This book continues to build on The Artist Way with more exercises in exploring your creativity. The biggest thing I took away from this book was it’s all about finding your “vein of gold”–where is that creative flow? Where does effort met ease?
The next two books were instrumental in my writing process and both taught me how to get into the flow of writing.
Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg--This is a fabulous book with essays about the writing process. One of my favorite lines in this book says: “Writers end up writing about their obsessions. Things that haunt them; things they can’t forget; stories they carry in their bodies waiting to be released.” As I look at both my published books and the ones still waiting in the cue I can see this is very true for me. At a recent author event, a reader asked me if there was a theme I wrote about and I didn’t have to think long. The theme of addiction–ranging from alcoholism to drug addiction to gambling, is the overwhelming topic I explore over and over again in my writing and for all ages.
Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg-This book is another fantastic one which digs more into the process of writing, but it also includes exercises such as “Try this.” Natalie Goldberg’s process is all about free-writing. Pick a topic and write. Go.
Old Friend from Far Away by Natalie Goldberg--This book will appeal to those wanting to write memoir or dig into your own stories in order to access emotions and truths to add to your fiction writing. I used this book a great deal while working on my memoir, “Kids in Orange: Voices from Juvenile Detention.”
There are others that I’ve loved to help me with the process of being a writer, but I’ll save those for another post!