This Book Is about How to Love Writing over the Long Haul

Some experienced writers can only snark about the writing process. Stephen King's classic book on writing is totally opposite. (Let's get happy.) |

I am always hungry to read memoirs about the writing life. I'm downright greedy for more information: How do the best writers think? 

How do they arrange their days? How do they view themselves and their work? What do they do with schedules, when and what do they read, do their families think they're crazy?

All that juicy stuff.

But sometimes, it gets depressing. 

Some writers hate writing. Or at least they find it so difficult and excruciating that, yeah, it practically amounts to hatred. 

This is not the kind of stuff I want to read about. (I know it can be helpful to all yowl about writing together, but ... sheesh. It does get discouraging.)

I'd rather hear from someone who's been around the block and still loves to write. Someone who still has that freshness, who can't help enjoying it, who thrives on stories.

That's how I want to be. That's who I want to learn from.

Which is why I loved Stephen King's book On Writing. 

I loved this book for his tone--he's funny, salty, honest, and generous. It has a practical, companionable feel, but there's a crazy amount of wisdom in it as well. (Get ready to underline a bunch!)

Best of all, he still loves writing so much that it reinvigorates me when my own enthusiasm starts flagging.

The first section he calls C.V., "a kind of curriculum vitae--my attempt to show how one writer was formed."

It's essentially a memoir, but a memoir through the lens of writing. Experiences from childhood that turned into themes in his fiction.

Totally cool, right? The story nerd in me just eats that up. It sent me musing through my own childhood, thinking again about stuff from childhood that stayed with me, the themes I am always writing toward.

And King shows how the kinds of stories he loved as a kid became the kinds of stories he aimed to tell as a writer. (Which, I'm finding, is also true of me.)

That whole first section is laced with writerly thinking, but it's in the second half of On Writing that he talks about writing itself--what makes good writing good, and why you should read everything you can get your hands on.

He also talks through his own process (soooooo helpful), and how he thinks through each stage of a project. There's so much practical stuff in here! A lot of ideas that I took and applied to my own work.

This is a good one, friends. It's personal, and interesting, and will help you see how your life has shaped your writing, and how your writing shapes your life. At the same time, he talks about the craft in a way that sharpens your writing, and hones your attention.

This is an especially good book to grab if you're tempted to feel grumpy about your writing life, or how hard writing has been. 

As King says near the very end of the book,

Writing isn't about making money, getting famous.
... It's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work,
and enriching your own life, as well.
It's about getting up, getting well, and getting over.
Getting happy, okay? Getting happy. 

Getting happy.

He's been through just about everything, he's written a zillion words (I'm sure that's an accurate number), and he still gets happy about writing. 

That's exactly how I want to be.

Get Crazy-Delighted with Words (by Reading This Book)

If you have a chance to amp up your writing delight in any way: go for it. This Friday, love your word-loving side by getting this book. |

My favorite way to work is with pure and total delight. (Seriously--who ISN'T on board with that?) 

This writing life is a million times easier when I'm loving my story concept, my working environment, and the rhythm of sentences flowing out of my fingertips. Mmm.

That is my happiest kind of happy.

So when I find something--a tool, a resource, or a bit of inspiration--that helps me get to that happy-writer space, I am ALL EXCITED. All in.

It's part of the Lionhearted Writing Life 101, right? If you can inject delight, curiosity, and energy into your work: Do it!!! Make that happen!

So on that note, let me introduce to you this fantastic little volume: Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World. It's compiled and illustrated by Ella Frances Sanders (who runs a super charming website and blog as well).

Grab the book LOST IN TRANSLATION and revel in the charming illustrations and the perfection of the words! |

Friends. You totally need this book in your collection.

It combines art, a global awareness, and the definitions of words into something beautiful, inspiring, and yes, delightful. 

... I've been browsing through the pages again, trying to pick a favorite word, but I'm stumped.

Do I most love: the Malay noun for the time needed to eat a banana? (!) Or the Inuit noun that describes going outside to check if anyone is coming? (!!) The Swedish noun for the road-like reflection of the moon in the water? (!!!)

Or--Swedish again--this one, the name for a third cup of coffee:

Are you swooning yet?? (LOST IN TRANSLATION, by Ella Frances Sanders) |

Because how could I not love a word for a third cup of coffee. I mean, come on

Each untranslatable word is accompanied with a charming illustration, the definition, and a miniature bit of musing.

Reading through it, you get insight into other cultures and languages, you fill your eyes with these perfect illustrations, and you stir up your word-loving brain into something of a frenzy. 

Seriously, you'll adore it. It's like handing your writing life a fistful of balloons. 

(And it's Friday. And we all deserve balloons. So there.)

We the observers.

We the observers.

There is something exhilarating about this quote. 

Probably because: it does not describe me at all right now. 

I have been living on the surface, my friends. Skimming along, trying to deal with the urgent things before they get out of control, taking care of immediate needs. I have not stolen the time to sit still, breathe deeply, and look close. 

And while that keeps home life simmering happily, it is wreaking havoc on my writing.

Which has filled up with adverbs. Oh, adverbs. The sign of sloppy thinking.

Dull word, dull word, blah verb, and then a whole wodge of adverbs and cheap adjectives marching in to fluff out the image.

This is not how I like to work.

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