August 22, 2009

Spring Cleaning?

I suppose Spring cleaning in August could be considered a bad thing. But I prefer to look on the bright side, at least it's happening in the same year if not the correct season. Cleaning out my dresser drawers usually yields a lost earring, a missing sock, or an old sachet that's lost its scent. In my closet I find shoes ready to be donated to the thrift store, worn out t-shirts and occasionally a piece of clothing tucked into a corner with a price tag still attached. Bookshelves are another matter all together.

I have too many books. I love them all, but I have too many. The bookshelves are bowed, double-stacked, and it's a challenge to locate specific titles. My bookshelves are in the guest room/craft closet/writing room. I haven't been spending enough time in here lately and I'm thinking that both the room and my writing could benefit from a good straightening.

The bottom shelf of the bookcase closest to the window is dedicated to writing books. I just pulled them all out onto the rug to dust them, and the pile is high. The books aren't all new, many were gifts and a number of them haven't even been read. I have how-to-books, author memoirs and books on embracing creativity. I think I just counted about 40 titles, and I know I have a few more out on loan to friends. I'm writing a list (mostly to avoid duplicate future purchases) and color-coding it (this step might be too anal.) Blue for books I've finished, red for partial reads and green for admired, desired but not read titles.

Most of these books are ones that writers I admire have recommended. I realize I've invested money, but more importantly my time, reading these books. I've learned a great deal from them, of course, but I think that on some level I've also allowed the books to become obstacles to my own writing. It's easy to justify reading about writing instead of sitting down and doing the hard work of actually writing. So for now, I'm swearing off reading and focusing on writing. My unread books are newly dusted, repositioned on the shelf and ready to have their spines cracked when I've earned that reward.

Write Away,
Elizabeth George
The Making of a Writer - Journals 1961-1963,
Gail Godwin
Writing and Selling the YA Novel,
K.L. Going
Bird by Bird,
Anne Lamott
The Elements of Style,
Strunk and White
Goal, Motivation and Conflict,
Debra Dixon
How I Write,
Janet Evanovich
Making a Literary Life, Carolyn See
Art & Fear, David Bayles and Ted Orland
The Pocket Muse, Monica Wood
See Jane Write
, Sarah Mlynowski and Farris Jacobs
Rules of Thumb, Edited by Michael Martone and Susan Neville
Take Joy, Jane Yolen
Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg

The Toolkit for Writers,
Naomi Epel
The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron
Writing the Breakout Novel, Donald Maass
Writing Tools,
Roy Peter Clark
2008 Children's Writers and Illustrator's Market
Crafting Stories for Children, Nancy Lamb
The Weekend Novelist, Robert Ray
Off the Page, Edited by Carole Burns
The Writing Life, A Collection from the Washington Post Book World

Reading Like a Writer, Francine Prose
Steering the Craft, Ursula K. Le Guin
The Making of a Story, Alice LaPlante
Children's Writer's Word Book
The Writing Diet, Julia Cameron
Writing Fiction for Children, Judy K. Morris
If You Want to Write, Brenda Ueland
On Teaching and Writing Fiction
, Wallace Stegner
The Art of Fiction, John Gardner
The Right to Write, Julia Cameron
Wild Mind, Natalie Goldberg

The Writing Life, Annie Dillard
One Writer's Beginning
, Eudora Welty
The Writer on Her Work
, Edited by Janet Sternburn
Creating Characters Kids Will Love, Elaine Alphin
Don't Tell the Grown-ups, Allison Lurie


Patty P said...

Wow. You DO have alot of books on writing!
Nice to see you yesterday. Looking forward to getting back to our coffee dates...

Solvang Sherrie said...

I still have some of your books that I borrowed this summer, but, seeing as how you have no room for them...:)