Friday, August 13, 2010

Giving writerly advice inspires me to write...

Last week, I had two friends contact me separately asking for advice about writing. One is jumping back into working on her novel. The other is working on giving her freelance writing career a jump start. I also have two friends who recently dug old short stories out of storage and are working on revising them. What motivation! I realized, having slacked off in the creative writing department myself, that every time someone asks my advice on writing, it gives me a little kick in the pants to get back into writing myself. It's a little too easy - especially with weeks of 100+ degree days - to lose energy and spend evenings and weekends doing something other than watching the television in a reclined position on the couch under the ceiling fan with the air conditioner blasting.

I thought I'd share a few links here for the writers out there that might also need some inspiration (or a kick in the pants) that have helped me. These are for you, but also for me. I hope you enjoy them!

Writer, blogger and author Christina Katz has a great web site and weekly e-mail newsletter for writers. I've been subscribing for a few years now and always find something helpful. One of my recent favorites is her list of 228 movies about writers and the writing life (link to PDF here).

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is almost here! It begins November 1 and is perfect for writers who NEED deadlines to get anything done. You can sign up at the web site to participate - the goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in just one month - and there are forums and tools that help set deadlines, hold you accountable for word count, and get advice from others who are participating. Read "How NaNoWriMo Works" here.

I love this advice to writers piece by Kurt Vonnegut called "How to Write With Style."

One of my favorite blogs with tons of advice for freelance writers, The Renegade Writer. If you're at the querying editors stage, they also have a great book called Query Letters that Rock.

Find inspirational quotes, book recommendations, and tons of links to other web sites at Advice to Writers (Writerly Wisdom of the Ages, collected by Jon Winokor).

If you're a podcast-listener like I am (I get most of my NPR fix via podcasts), there are several good ones for writers and readers, like Selected Shorts (short fiction read during their live shows by stars of stage and screen), KQED's "The Writer's Block" (short stories, excerpts, and nonfiction read by authors), Book Lust with Seattle librarian Nancy Pearl (interviews with writers on writing), The New Yorker's Fiction podcast (writers reading their favorite stories from The New Yorker), "I Should Be Writing" (the podcast for wanna-be fiction writers), and of course, This American Life (storytelling at its best).

And my final bit of advice, though it's specific to me, is return to what worked for you in the beginning. I have a battered copy of Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. I discovered this book while I was still in high school and it was the first book on writing I read that really spoke to me. It freed me to write, it gave me permission to call myself a writer, and all of these years later, it still gives me so much inspiration, even when I have to force myself to pick it up and start reading. It's always close by; I always know where it is; and I think it might be the 5th or 6th copy I purchased because I've loaned or given others away to writer friends with writing emergencies.

For those of you who have asked my advice, I love you for it. I love you for thinking so much of me, but also because you inspire me by asking. And for those of you out there who would like to ask but haven't, ask away! Comment here or email me at kellylovejohnson[AT]


  1. I love for both personal and work related writing inspiration. You can also follow their twitter feed @fuelyourwriting. I always find something good there!

  2. I follow a lot of writers on twitter, even though I don't twitter a lot on my own account. If you search for the #writing tag on twitter, you can find a lot!

  3. And I love YOU for the advice, and the connection you offered! I haven't been able to thank you until now because I have deadlines... :) Good problem to have.

  4. Aw, shucks. Thanks so much for the shout out. Feel free to blog along with The Prosperous Writer prompts any time. :)


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