Continuing Education for Writers

When someone asks me what I’m reading, they better have a while to listen to my answer. At any point in time I’ll have a pile of books nearby that cover my many areas of interest: fiction, spirituality, non-fiction, poetry, writing how-to, magazines…and on it goes.

In order to renew my nursing license, I’m required to participate in 30 hours of continuing education evey two years. This same expectation holds true in any area of professional practice and I believe, as writers, on-going reading about writing should be a part of our lives, even if not a formal requirement.

Since I’m not at home to access my library, I went to and searched under “writing fiction” to jog my memory so that I could share some of my favorite titles with you. There are no fewer than 19,280 entries available–way too many to browse–so here are a few (about fiction or the writing life) I gleaned from the archives of my brain. I’ll follow up with some more on poetry and non-fiction at a later date.

  • The “Write Great Fiction” series from Writers’ Digest. One that I remember is Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. There are others on dialogue, character and emotion, description. Check them out. Very hands-on with exercises included.
  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (my personal favorite)
  • Page After Page by Heather Sellers. Includes exercises, if I remember correctly.
  • Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. (another favorite…inspirational)

Please, please add your comments with suggestions for writing how-to that have helped you. Thank you.