Writers On Writing: 9 Books On Craft

Having just finished Haruki Murakami’s book Novelist as a Vocation, I thought it would be fun to look through some of the various books about the craft of writing. The fact that so many books exist I think is a great indicator that many people are interested either in becoming writers or learning more about writers as people. I’ve read the books below for both purposes. This healthy interest is reassuring that books will continue to thrive in our society.

The number of books out there is also proof that the craft of writing is inherently personal and there is no “standard” to the practice aside from putting words on paper (or in digital program). I often need this reminder, especially of late as I’ve failed to work on any writing projects. I have two sets of “rules” hanging on my office wall to remind me of the important parts of writing. Time is my nemesis at the moment, but I hope to develop a strong discipline to help me work toward my goals of writing several novels.

Now back to the list of books by writers on the craft of writing.

Novelist as a VocationAs I mentioned, I recently finished Haruki Murakami’s book Novelist as a Vocation which I found insightful for many reasons. It was first released in 2015 but recently released in English for the first time. This book gives insight into Murakami himself, but also a history of publishing in and outside of Japan, how unstable writing as a career can be, and also how much luck he had in starting and maintaining his career as a writer. In the end, my takeaway was that Murakami stayed true to himself, as we all should, and worked hard, diligently, and persevered. Times have definitely changed since he began writing novels, but this book gives a realistic “look behind the curtain” to what it means to work hard at this craft. He removes some of the romantic notions often circling the image of author which may be one of the most valuable takeaways for most writers.

I haven’t read too many books on writing recently, but I have read several throughout the past decade or so, and I keep a copy readily available of those I liked if I ever want to revisit or look up any particular portion. Continue reading

Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 Rules for Writing

I am happy to finally talk about a piece of artwork I had commissioned by the incredible artist Jillian Kaye. This piece is Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 Rules for Writing (as seen below). If you would like a copy of this awesome print, you can purchase it at JillianKayeArt.com. Also, since you are reading this post and hopefully enjoy my stories or discussions about books and writing, you can use the code “GRANFALLOON” to get free shipping!

I posted about Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules for Writing a few weeks ago, and I’ll admit I also wanted to have Vonnegut’s rules on my wall above my desk. There are no “real” rules to writing (I’ve posted two sets now) and you can likely find many more “rules” by Vonnegut himself online. These are more like reminders or advice to keep in mind while writing. I pulled the 8 Rules for the Vonnegut artwork from the book Pity the Reader which shares much more about Vonnegut and his views on writing and life. That book in turn had pulled the “rules” from a newspaper article Vonnegut had written about titled “How to Write with Style.”

So, this goes to show that writing is truly an individual art and there is no real way of doing it wrong. Enjoy yourself and keep going. Use these rules for guidance, or perhaps Neil’s rules work better for you, or perhaps use no rules at all. Or create your own rules. Whatever works for you is what you should use.


Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules for Writing

A long time ago, I shared Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules for Writing and included an art print that I purchased from NeverWear with art by David Mack. You can purchase this print as well while it is still available. I have this print hanging above my desk as a reminder that writing is really much simpler than we make it out to be, but it is also a reminder that it can be difficult and we need to persevere and finish what we start in order to have a completed story or piece of work.

Writing is also subjective, as I have another set of rules I will be sharing later, which is a reminder that the only rules you need to follow are the ones that work for you. There is no “correct” way to write (with perhaps an exception being rule #1 below).

So, for all my fellow writers, new and old, full of confidence or self-doubt, I leave you these reminders below and encourage you to persevere and finish your work, at your own pace, because you never know who may be waiting to read it.

Neil Gaiman 8 Rules