Monday, October 17, 2011

Spotlight on Writing Resources: ART & FEAR

Welcome to our first week of blogging here at The Lucky 13s! We're kicking things off with a spotlight on our favorite writing resources.
When it comes to writing, there's no shortage of blogs, books, and magazines to turn to for guidance. Writers like to write, after all. It’s the people seeking inspiration as they pursue the difficult, heart-wrenching work of designing particle accelerators who are out of luck — not us!
In fact, we could easily spend the remainder of our days reading about writing without ever putting a word on the page. Until recently, I appeared to be on track to do exactly that. I may have discovered many favorite books about writing during my long phase of procrastination —Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, John Gardner’s On Becoming a Novelist, Stephen King’s On Writing — but I didn’t write. It was the equivalent of trying to learn how to play guitar by reading about it.
I finally got down to it, at last. My procrastination was really poorly masked fear about not being creative or talented enough to justify spending time writing. In the spirit of combating doubts — and to speed you back to your writing desk — I’ll offer up just one favorite that explores the fears that can undermine an artist:  

Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland.

While not a book specifically about writing, Art & Fear examines the difficulty of making art, focusing especially on the psychological roadblocks artists put up for themselves. If you want to cultivate the resilience you need to push through times of self-doubt, this book is a great place to turn.

After that, rip out your wireless router, and get back to the page! 

That is, until Wednesday and Friday, when we’ll be back with more of the Lucky 13s writing resource favorites…

Kristen Kittscher’s debut middle grade mystery, THE WIG IN THE WINDOW (Harper Children’s), will be released in early 2013. It follows the comic misadventures of two tween sleuths who suspect their school counselor is a dangerous fugitive — and just might be right! A former middle school English teacher, Kristen lives in Pasadena, California with her husband, Kai. When she’s not writing, she is busy running her after-school tutoring business or taking orders from her hopelessly spoiled pets. She also blogs at Sleuths, Spies & Alibis, a YA/MG mystery-focused site. (Website - Twitter - Facebook)


  1. Kristen, I know what you mean about spending time reading books on writing instead of just...writing. It can become an addiction in and of itself, kind of like researching a project for months or years so you don't have to sit down and write the story.

    Art & Fear sounds really good, and like it applies to any creative endeavor, perhaps a little bit like The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.

  2. Oh man, I have totally fallen into the trap of reading about writing instead of doing it! Art & Fear sounds also mentioned two of my other favorites - On Writing and Bird by Bird. We are so on the same wavelength! :-)

  3. I find reading about writing is a great way to get the creative juices flowing when I'm stuck. One sentence can send me off a great subplot or characterization idea. My favorite book on writing? "Story" by Robert McKee.

  4. My favorite book on writing? "Story" by Robert McKee.

    Oooh, yes. When I moved to L.A. to become a screenwriter, this was the book everyone recommended, and I find it works across the board with just about any kind of writing.

  5. ART & FEAR is one of my favorites too. I've read this countless times. It always has something new to say to me, at various points in the writing process, and it's a wonderful weapon against self-doubt.

  6. Funny -- STORY and The ARTIST'S WAY were two others I really like, as well. I do turn to craft books like Story from time to time to try to remember why something isn't working. SAVE THE CAT can be helpful for that, too, though it is a screenwriting book.

    See, I really have read too much about writing!

    Thanks for the comments. Glad it might be a helpful recommendation for some!

  7. STORY is my writing 'bible' too - it turned my writing round completely! Before I read it I hadn't got a clue how to plot or tell a story, and as I read it, it was like a lightbulb going on in my head – so THIS is how you do it.

    ART & FEAR looks great, too - I will have to check it out!