Frequently, I hear from writers who feel miserable. “I know I want to write, but I don’t know what.” Or, “I want to be an author but I’m not sure how to start!” Honestly, is there any writer who hasn’t experienced those feelings? Whether you need to start or finish a project, there are some seasons that are just hard. It’s like swimming in wet cement. When it seems impossible to pick up a pen or open that word processor, here are 3 books that will inspire you to write:
Real Artists Don’t Starve
One of the most prevalent ideas about the creative life is the concept of the starving artist. How often do you encounter this image? Does it make you feel discouraged before you even begin work on your project? Do you think you have to slave away in an isolated, dank, poorly-lit room somewhere? Is it hard to feel excited to write when you feel destined to face lack–of appreciation, of reward, of opportunity? Is the starving artist lurking at the edges of your creative dreams, always threatening, always fearful?
We have to abandon this motif. And we’re sometimes the ones who perpetuate it the most! If it was actually possible to thrive as an artist, wouldn’t you want to do that? But we can view a new idea with suspicion and mistrust even when–spoiler alert!–it’s not a new idea at all…
Find out where the hard-to-shake myth of the starving artist originated, and learn practical ways you can set your writing up for success.
How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci
I’m getting deja vu that I’ve told you this story already. Maybe I have, or maybe it’s because I tell *everyone* about this book at some point. For me, this is one of those life books, one that I can point to for the rest of my life and say, “That book changed things; I was never the same!”
I discovered it in a charming library when I was living on a small island during one of my college summers. (Yes, I really got to do that, and yes, I’m super grateful.) I remember it so vividly because a.) it felt like it literally called to me from the shelf, b.) I’ve always journaled, but this book changed my journaling methods, and c.) it became a part of that beach summer. I used a piece of beach glass for a bookmark–no lie! It seemed a little science-y and a little alchemical, and made me feel connected to Leonardo, ha!
If you like Italy, history, or just learning interesting things, I definitely recommend this book. At one time, there was a popular workshop based on the book that was geared toward helping CEOs think more creatively and be more open to curiosity. Since you’re the CEO of your writing life, I think you’ll find many benefits, as well.
*UPDATE:* I did tell you about it once, in this post: Books to Help Launch Your Writing Career!
Zen in the Art of Writing
If you’re looking for a practical, how-to guide, this isn’t it. Click on the book cover to check out the reviews–they’re all over the place. So I’m recommending this book with a warning. You might dig it, you might not. But if you’ve been studying the craft, hustling to build your skills, and still feel kind of stuck, I think you should give the book a chance.
Instead of focusing on publishing advice, this collection of essays by Ray Bradbury celebrates the passions, joys, and frustrations of the writing life. From an author who influenced so many of our favorite writers, stories, and franchises, we get a look into what it takes to walk the razor’s edge of creativity. Borrowing, immersing, composting, reshaping, and story–always story.
If you feel burned out, maybe it’s time to let go of the tension and rediscover your joy for writing–and more.
Don’t be discouraged if you’re in one of the difficult stretches of the writing journey. Think of the real-life journeys you’ve undertaken. There’s always a crisis of mechanical failure, food poisoning, a stolen wallet, or a wrong turn. The writing journey is like that, too. It never goes according to plan, never quite as smoothly as we’d like. But it’s always worth it. And, later, it makes for the best stories. Go write for a little while, writer 🙂 Then order one of these 3 books that will inspire you to write more!
NOW YOU: What are your favorites? Are these books that will inspire you to write? List some of your life’s books in the comments!
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