If you’re looking to write better (aren’t we all?), this book is for you: “The Writer’s Devotional: 365 Inspirational Exercises, Ideas, Tips & Motivations on Writing,” by Amy Peters, published in 2012.
It’s how writing should be: Clear, clean, direct and simple. Oh, it’s hard work, too. Any good writing doesn’t come easy. But this takes you along, step by step, on a journey that will, if you’re disciplined, end with you being a better writer. And you will enjoy your writing.
Each week is dedicated to a certain area.
Mondays — “Writers on Writing”
Tuesdays — “Motivation”
Wednesdays — “Writing Class”
Thursdays — “Editing”
Fridays — “Biography”
Saturdays — “Books to Read”
Sundays — “Writing Prompt”
So many writers overwrite. They use unnecessary words. They want to be creative, clever and colorful, and too often they come across as trying to be someone they are not. Less is more. Good writing, at the end of the day, comes from within. It comes from your experiences, your life, what you’ve done. You can’t fake it.
Here, from “The Writer’s Devotional,” are what some fine writers had to say about their craft:
• “Fill your paper with breathings of your heart.” — William Wordsworth
• “The ideal view for daily writing, hour for hour, is the blank brick wall of a cold storage warehouse. Failing this, a stretch of sky will do, cloudless if possible.” — Edna Ferber
• “I just kept on doing what everyone starts out doing. The real question is, why did other people stop?” — William Stafford
• “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” — Thomas Jefferson
And here’s some motivation to write, per “The Writer’s Devotional:”
• “I’m a slow writer: five, six hundreds words is a good day. That’s the reason it took me 20 years to write those million and a half words on the Civil War.” — Shelby Foote
• “It’s so easy to fool yourself into thinking that you’re working hard. It’s so easy not to write. So you use any trick you can to make yourself know there’s work to be done. That’s why I wear a jacket and tie when I sit down to write.” — Robert Caro
• “You have to stay in shape. My grandmother, she started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-seven today and we don’t know where she is.” — Ellen DeGeneres
In the end, you should write about what you know. Write about what you love. Readers know the difference between a writer pretending to understand their subject and a writer who has a passion or it.
The key, as any writer will tell you, is to write.
I love this bit of motivation by James Patterson: “I’m always pretending that I’m sitting across from somebody. I’m telling them a story, and I don’t want them to get up until it’s finished.”
Bill Buley, editor-in-chief, can be reached at 245-0457 or email@example.com.