One, everyone best learns differently.
Two, everyone, surely, best learns the same way I do.
Which is why I was simultaneously surprised and unsurprised at a recent Writers' Group meeting when a member stated in passing that he had never read a book on writing, that he never intended to do so, and that he just goes about writing in his own way, guided by his own lights. What's particularly annoying is that he is a good writer of both imaginative fiction and non-fiction.
Another good writer, of short stories this time, finds courses and workshops most helpful. Another likes a particular online course that includes various improbable assignments.
So, I offer this list of four books knowing (reluctantly knowing, I must confess) that not every writer will rush to read them.
I also know that another Writing Group colleague read one of these books, and recommended it for passages I could only vaguely recall - while I benefited from other parts of the very same book.
Here they are, then, all very different, each speaking to a different aspect of our vocation, so therefore listed in no particular order. I know I have mentioned some of these before, but the list has now grown to Four.
- Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process by John McPhee
- Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on the Writing Life by Anne Lamott
- Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert