I cannot stop reading books about writing. And I can’t stop buying writing craft books!
If one was to look at my collection of books and categorize them by genre, they will find that books about writing are in the majority. A casual glance at my organized kindle ebook collection shows that I have twenty-three digital books about writing. Everything from On Writing by Stephen King, Story Genius by Lisa Cron, to Save the Cat: Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody.
While I haven’t dared to count my physical books, I can share those that I have purchased in the past thirty-days:
- On Writing Well by William Zinsser
- The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E. B. White
- The Sense of Style by Steven Pinker
- Writing Fiction by Ned Stuckey-French and Janet Burroway
- Fucking Apostrophes by Simon Griffin
- The Subversive Copy Editor by Carol Fisher Saller
- Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris
Before you judge me, I do actually read the books. And I refer to them often, from the brief notes I make to thumbing through the pages to answer a question. Thus, the excess in craft writing books poses its own question: What do I possibly seek to gain from reading so many books on writing?
Great question. The basis to become a better writer is to … write. However, writing is a craft and there are some basic rules you must follow: from grammar, to style, to plot, and pacing. And when you learn these rules, you gain the skills to break them. Further, what works for one writer doesn’t work for another. So with each turn of a page, I am trying to find that nugget of advice that clicks with me and changes my entire perspective as I did with Libbie Hawker’s: Take Off Your Pants; a book to help “pantsers”—who write by the seat of their pants—outline their stories. If it wasn’t for my obsession in reading writing craft books, outlining would have never clicked with me.
Thus, I sit, listening to Polish jazz
, with a stack of writing books and grammar guides littered about my desk. And I wonder, which writing book will I dive into next? What writing exercise will they ask me to do? What sentence will revolutionize my own?
But most important, when will I stop buying books about writing?