All growth is painful and creates resistance. It makes us uncomfortable even when we want it, even when we know it’s essential for our evolution as writers. And sometimes we wonder if it’ll ever end, if we’ll ever reach a point where we can lay back and say we’ve reached the top. But growth is a never ending process that we writers thrive on if we go about it in a practical way.
Growth is hard because it destroys the old and forces us to adapt and master the new. Like the unlearning of trite skills that no longer suffice, the demolition of an old perspective that’s holding us back, or the departure from of an old environment so we can move forward. Growth pushes out of our comfort zone and into a process of transformation, and it usually takes a while until we get comfortable again. A while that’s scary and confusing, and just basically sucks.
But ultimately growth is also beautiful and cathartic. With every story we write and every new technique we learn to apply, our work becomes clearer and more powerful. With every additional angle to our perspective and every bit of confidence we gain, we become stronger and sharper, more intentional, more effective. As writers, we usually grow on several levels at the same time, we grow as creators and unique individuals and also as parts of a dynamic and diverse community.
This necessary discomfort of growth that comes with our successive creative eclosions is something we all have to go through. Luckily, we’re not the first to go through it. We can learn from others who’ve already internalized that growth and are able and willing to coach us through it. So I’d love to share the tips and tools from some of the most amazing people, that not only help me through this itchy process, but have improved my writing life tremendously.
Behold the top contents of my suitcase!
Loot and pillage to your heart’s delight, do the clickety-clack dance and make your electronic rodent happy, but whatever you do, for the love of humanity, don’t touch that cocoon!
Characters and Viewpoint, by Orson Scott Card
Hooked and Finding Your Voice, by Les Edgerton
Plot, by Ansen Dibell
500 Ways To Be A Better Writer, by Chuck Wendig
Scene and Structure, by Jack M. Bickham
How To Write A Damn Good Novel, by James N. Frey
Create A Plot Clinic, by Holly Lisle
The Art of War For Writers, by James Scott Bell
The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield
100 Ways to Motivate Yourself, by Steve Chandler
On Writing, by Stephen King
We Are Not Alone, by Kristen Lamb
Platform: Get Noticed In A Noisy World, by Michael Hyatt
Storyfix, by the razor-sharp and brilliant Larry Brooks
Advanced Fiction Writing, by the pragmatic Randy Ingermanson
Wordplay, by the sweet and helpful K.M. Weiland
Moody Writing, by anonymous (seriously, Mood, who are you?)
Jody Hedlund‘s beautiful blog on writing
Nathan Bransford’s straightforwardblogness
Terribleminds, home of penmonkey Chuck Wendig
Kill Zone Authors, hub of 9 very successful writers
Writer Unboxed, a truly stellar writers community
Warriorwriters, by mother hen Kristen Lamb
We Grow Media, behind the desk of super-coach Dan Blank
What’s your crème de la crème in fuel for growth, both as an individual and as part of the community? Who did you learn most (recently) from?