May 2016 – This page is currently being revised. This page is my suggested non-fiction reading list for writers. I read an eclectic variety of books – many of them as audiobooks – and keep track of my favorites on this page.
If you don’t have a cup of coffee yet, you might need one before reading this non-fiction reading list. I’m drinking peppermint tea.
Now, imagine yourself in a humble coffee house full of writers and wise people of all types. Here’s where we share our observations about various books. I hope you will comment at the bottom of this page about the books you’ve found most valuable in your writing career.
On this page I’m recording and listing only books I’ve read, that I truly loved and can recommend.
A suggested reading list, such as this one, comes from a variety of sources, and you’ll find a lot of diversity on this page. Keep in mind that I have a few areas of special interest, such as writing and business… but I won’t limit myself to those only. Marketing, editing, time management and research are also important aspects of the writing profession.
In the past I read a lot of fiction but in recent years I’ve veered away from that, toward non-fiction books that can help me in my writing business.
Anyhow, the topic of this posting is… books! Here’s some of what I’ve read:
Conquer your resistance to writing with Do The Work by Steven Pressfield
I listen to this short book’s audio version for a quick reminder to ignore the resistance and forge ahead. The entire audiobook takes only an hour and a half to get through. The book is short, but very powerful.
Do the Work is the condensed philosophy of author Steven Pressfield. He explains that if you want to do something good and positive in this world, there’s an opposite effect called the resistance that tries to wear you down and cause apathy. The more important and vital your good plan is, the greater will be the resistance.
You could see the resistance as being compared to the Christian concept of “Satan” or as a Taoist ying-yang concept of the polarity of this world… positive versus negative. We as writers, artists, creative people, will be held back by the negativity, the resistance, so long as we allow it. But gathering all strength and determination we must push on toward our goals.
I’ve encountered a HUGE amount of resistance to getting my first book published. There was that publishing industry propaganda about how we all need agents and editors and how self-publishing is “vanity” publishing and not a good solution. Balderdash! I finally got over that hurdle and am heading toward a self-publishing victory, yet many elements of this experience still hold me back and represent the current resistance to my goals. I will overcome! It is nearly done! I recommend this book, Do the Work for putting life into perspective, and getting creative work done.
Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
Added 3/26/12 – I’m not fond of the idea of eating frogs. I’m a vegetarian. However this is a great productivity book and would have been perfect without the frog eating idea that was repeated in almost every chapter. I’m overlooking that and already am using some of the ideas in the book. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time has been translated into over 30 languages and sold over 3,000,000 copies, so a lot of other people found value in it too.
I started listening to this (I have the audiobook version) while traveling this past weekend, but the ideas were just too good, and I knew I’d be better off listening to it at home, and taking notes. This morning I did just that. The audiobook takes less than three hours to listen to. The book has 128 pages. Well worth the time spent if you are overwhelmed with things to do and have a tendency to procrastinate. He starts the book by assuring us we will never get everything done. We’ll never catch up, be finished, or get to the end of our to-do lists. I don’t know about you, but that description fits my life very well. The best thing to do is to prioritize tasks and learn how to get as much done as possible in the least amount of time. This book is great for teaching these skills.
The author, Brian Tracy, apparently comes from a sales and management point-of-view. This is a time management and productivity book focusing on recovery from procrastination. I’ve had a terrible time with procrastination and hope the ideas in this book will set me on a better path. I’ve got the notes I took in a spreadsheet that contains my daily, weekly, and monthly goals. There’s also a page for writing down what I’ve actually accomplished each day, and a master list of things I’d like to get done. Some of these ideas are from the book; others were already in use. Time management has been one of the most difficult issues for me. This is one of the best books I’ve read with ideas on how to manage small business productivity. My business is so small that I’m the only person working it! So if I don’t get around to doing things, they don’t get done. I’m glad I found this book when I did; it may save me a lot of difficulty in the future.
NOTE: There used to be more books on this list – I am changing a few of them at the present time… hold on… I’ll be back with more book reviews, pronto! (5/2/16)