Top Books on Writing by Female Writers

Saturday, May 09, 2015
This summer I will work on two major writing projects: my novel and my doctoral dissertation.

For motivation, I look to other authors for guidance, which makes me return to some of my favorite books on writing by female authors.

1. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott 

“Just take it bird by bird.”

This advice has gotten me through not only the most daunting, difficult writing projects, but through some daunting, difficult life situations, too.

2. Negotiating with the Dead by Margaret Atwood

"All writing of the narrative kind, and perhaps all writing, is motivated, deep down, by a fear of and a fascination with mortality by a desire to make the risky trip to the Underworld, and to bring something or someone back from the dead."

The book includes six essays on what it means to be a female writer and includes the wit and dry humor of Atwood that I love so dearly.

3. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg:

“Every time we begin [writing], we wonder how we ever did it before.
Each time is a new journey with no maps.”

Goldberg mixes her writing lessons, exercises, and experiences with Zen Buddhism into this compact guide.

In addition, reading great literature by female writers also inspires me. How many of the greatest books by women have you read? I have read 50 of 102 on this list. So I still have some catching up to do! Also, although most of my favorite female authors are represented here, there are still a few books and authors missing.

Who are some writers who inspire you, and why? Please give me some recommendations so I have more excuses to procrastinate my projects this summer [wink, wink].

Written by Anne Greenawalt, writer and writing instructor


Margo Dill said...

Well, my favorite writing book is not by a woman :( . It is Stephen King's ON Writing. But one woman who is not as well known who has very inspirational journaling books is WOW!'s good friend, Mari L. McCarthy. If you are looking to get into a routine or want to journal more, etc, Mari's books are great!

Joy V. Smith said...

One of the books on my writing books shelf is The Naked Writer by G. Miki Hayden. She covers the writing rules basics; it's a great refresher course--and it's an enjoyable read.

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