I’m not sure if many of you know this, and maybe it’s a little hard to believe with some of the drivel I put up on this blog but once upon a time I went to University and got myself a little degree in Media Communications and Creative Writing. Not knowing (and still, I’ve yet to figure out) what to do with my life, I decided to stay on for a further 2 years and gain my Masters in Writing Studies.
So, for 5 years I studied writing of various kinds, in various ways and wrote a lot. Mainly scripts and long fictional pieces in which someone usually died or, as the plot for my final manuscript turned out, was actually already dead. I’m not morbid, I swear!
Things just turned out that way.
I’ve always loved writing, and studying it allowed me to unleash that creative passion. True, I don’t write creatively as often as I used to, I still have my blog and I still get those sparks every now and again to put pen to paper and create a little world of my own. Who knows, I might actually find the time to stick with it one day and finally write that book I’ve been promising myself!
Whether you write scripts, or poems, or blog posts, there is still an element of creativity there and every now and then you find yourself staring at a blank page in total horror. You have no idea what to write, you freeze up, you doubt yourself and your capabilities. You close down the word processor, you pace, you open it back up again….still, your creative well is running dry as a bone so you throw in the towel and walk away.
We’ve all been there.
There’s a stack of books I keep on my desk for such occasions. A chapter here and there, an exercise or two and I’m back on the starting line. I thought it might be worthwhile sharing those with you, and in the process give my own lazy creative ass a good kicking whilst I’m here!
No Plot? No Problem! – Chris Baty £8
Ever heard of NaNoWriMo? National Novel Writing Month takes place every November and challenges participants to write 50,000 words of a fictional piece in just 30 days! I’ve been attempting this challenge for a few years now and my best for the month is around 21,000 words! Coincidently, this book is exactly 50,000 words long too, written by the founder of NaNoWriMo, Chris Baty. Full of ideas, pep talks, survival guides and stratergies for getting through the gruelling 30 days, I find it works wonders outside of NaNoWriMo too. It’s great for those moments where you literally have no idea what to write!
The Imagineering Way – The Disney Imagineers £7
The Imagineers of Disney are some of the most ingeniously creative people you could ever want to meet – what I wouldn’t give to be trapped on a dessert island with these folks! If you know anything about Disney and the Disney theme parks you’ll know that everything, form trash cans to trees and pavement stones are there for a reason. Every little detail tells a story and boy, do these guys know how to tell a story! This book doesn’t just tell you to think outside the box, it urges you to throw away the box and come at any and all issues from the craziest of angles!
Negotiating with the dead – Margaret Atwood £6
I had a strong internal debate about whether or not to include this one. However, I love Atwood so it was a given it would be here. Have you ever asked a writer why they wrote something? Have you ever ask a writer why they write? This book goes straight to the messed up crazy core of what it is to be a writer, and generally leaves you with those ‘deep thinking’ kind of questions that keep you awake till 2am. It’s all about the writing life, the struggles, the duplicity of a writers personality and just what in this crazy world has led them down this life of words and solitude.
Writing Short Stories – Ailsa Cox £15
Well, Ailsa was one of my tutors for those 5 years at University so how could I not include her book? Writing short stories might not, on the surface, appear to be about writing blog posts but (OK, so this post aside!) what are most blog posts but condensed down thoughts, similar to short stories being condensed down novels? If you’ve ever wanted to know how to say as much as possible with as few a words as you can and still make sense, this book is for you. And, if you’ve ever thought about dabbling in short story writing, you might pick up a trick or two here too!
Seen as though this post is pretty long, I’ve split it in two, so 4 more books to get your creative juices flowing will be coming to you shortly! That should give you enough time to at least go pick up one of these books and report back to me!
Now tell me, have you found anything here useful? Could you recommend any similar books I’ve yet to mention? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time,