It’s no secret that we are all about writing here at Ideas on Fire. From the book to the blog post and everything in between, writing is one of the most powerful tools we have for knowledge-making, community-building and self-expression. Producing good scholarship is as much about deciding what makes it onto the page as it is about the research you’ve gathered along the way. Writing builds new worlds and tears down old ones, challenges the status quo, and urges us to do better.
So for the February installation of our monthly IoF team favorites list, we’ve compiled our favorite writing on writing—our suggestions for what to read when your pen needs a little inspiration (or a lot). Here are the writing guides that make us think, move us, and embolden us to imagine otherwise.
Cathy Hannabach (President)
- “There are so many good ones to chose from: Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Natalie Goldberg’s classic Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, Julia Cameron’s The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation Into the Writing Life, and anything and everything by Audre Lorde“
Terry K. Park (Grad School Rockstars Coach)
- “I loved Haruki Murakami’s memoir on two seemingly unrelated things, running a marathon and writing a book, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.”
Alexandra Sastre (Communications Director)
- “My favorite isn’t a book technically, but in the midst of dissertating and struggling with the feeling that the more I wrote the more I lost my voice, I was moved by Dear Sugar’s admonition to Write Like a Motherfucker“
Kate Drabinski (Grad School Rockstars Coach)
- “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamont is a classic.”
Sarah Grey (Editor)
- “Did we all say Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird? *peeks* Oh yeah, we totally did. And for good reason. Steven Pinker’s The Sense of Style is worth reading even if Pinker rubs you the wrong way (which he does me). Raymond Williams is also really brilliant for thinking about language and how we use it.”
Michelle Velasquez-Potts (Junior Editor)
- “Two of my favorites are Gloria Anzaldúa’s “An Open Letter to Women Writers of Color” and Stephan King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft“
Julia Jordan-Zachery (Grad School Rockstars Coach)
- “Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success by Wendy Belcher is a practical, accessible guide for anyone wanting to better navigate the form, or just learn how to develop and structure a writing plan.”
Happy reading (and writing)!