Saturday, April 14, 2012

A-Z Challenge: M is for Writing Memoirs

M is for Memoirs (on writing, of course!)

Every writer has a list of favorite books on writing, so I wanted to share my top three with you.

Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott: this witty, beautiful book explores writing and life as only Lamott can. Her voice is crisp and conversational, and ever since I was introduced to the concept of the "shitty first draft" as an undergrad, I keep coming back to this book for guidance...not to mention a good laugh.

On Writing, by Stephen King: although I'm ashamed to admit that I've never read any of his fiction, King's memoir struck a powerful chord with me. Like Lamott, he ties writing back to events in his life, and his advice is sharp, to the point, and perfect.

Zen in the Art of Writing
, by Ray Bradbury: this collection of essays has Bradbury's signature magic and turn of phrase. Like the other two books mentioned here, this is part writing handbook, part memoir. I first read Bradbury as a teen, and his words continue to inspire and guide my steps.

Reading widely is important to any writer, but reading other writer's experiences with craft and process is, I think, incredibly valuable as you figure out your own methods. Borrow what works, respect what doesn't, and read, read, read!

Which books have shaped your writing process? Are there any craft memoirs that you adore?

Wander over to the challenge blog and see what other people are talking about for M!


  1. Replies
    1. I use the "Shitty first draft" chapter with my college students: most of them love it! Lamott is AWESOME.

  2. Shitty drafts! Love Anne Lamott's book.

  3. Writing Down the Bones.

    Stopping by from the Challenge.

  4. Pollyanna shaped my mind as a youngster. The fact that her good attitude could influence so many other people made powerful reading. Some of this is reflected in my own writing.

    1. Francene, I never read Pollyanna (I tried!), but I grew up on the Haley Mills film: such a positive influence!

      Thanks for dropping by!