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Local Writers: Listen Up and Gather 'Round!

Writing can be a solitary act. Sitting in front of your monitor or staring at the blank page of a notebook can be lonely and taxing. This is an extreme downside of the act of writing. Now, let's talk about the other side of the writing habit. Writing is a creative and intense way for us to give form and structure to our thinking. The very process of writing can lead the mind to deeper levels of insight and imagination than you ever imagined possible. You thought you were going to write about a chance encounter with a friend and suddenly you are writing about a rain-drenched day as a child when you lost your way in a shopping mall. Many writers often talk about the unexpected twists and turns that happen on the page or screen when they allow their writing to move forward uninhibited by doubt.

Another plus to writing is that it can bring people together. Writing Groups allow both for socializing with others interested in exploring writing and helping writers stay on target, stay productive and keep receiving a steady flow of feedback.

On Wednesday, February 27 author Anna Jean Mayhew will present Writing Groups That Work at Main Library from 2:00 - 4:00 PM (Bostick Auditorium on the Garden Level). If you are currently in a writing group, thinking about starting one or simply interested in what it takes to keep your writing steady and moving forward, please join us for this event. Ms. Mayhew, author of the novel The Dry Grass of August will share what works both as a member and a leader of writing groups.

Here at Richland Library, we are looking into ways to actively support local writers--whether you are writing for the pleasure or seeking publication. One direct way we are beginning to support local writers is by encouraging the use of our Richland Library locations as the regular meeting place for writing groups. If you have a writing group and would like to find out more about how you can book a space for your group, please call 803.929.3457. We consider the workshop Wrting Groups That Work as our official launch for a more assertive approach to supporting local writers. Come find out some of the ideas we have as well as share your own, and stay tuned to find out more about local writers at your library.

I asked Ms. Mayhew for some of her go-to favorite resources for writing inspiration and keeping up-to-date about the Writers' World. Below are some of her favorites. We'll be adding more recommended resources for writers in the future here at richlandlibrary.com. Simply search these key words: local writers.


Tony T. Says: This popular and inspiring book is both practical and a joy to read.
Amazon Says: "Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write. [It] was due the next d more...
Amazon Says: "Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write. [It] was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said. 'Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'" With this basic instruction always in mind, Anne Lamott returns to offer us a new gift: a step-by-step guide on how to write and on how to manage the writer's life. From "Getting Started,' with "Short Assignments," through "Shitty First Drafts," "Character," "Plot," "Dialogue." all the way from "False Starts" to "How Do You Know When You're Done?" Lamott encourages, instructs, and inspires. She discusses "Writers Block," "Writing Groups," and "Publication." Bracingly honest, she is also one of the funniest people alive. If you have ever wondered what it takes to be a writer, what it means to be a writer, what the contents of your school lunches said about what your parents were really like, this books for you. From faith, love, and grace to pain, jealousy, and fear, Lamott insists that you keep your eves open, and then shows you how to survive. And always, from the life of the artist she turns to the art of life. "An inspiring book about writing as a way of finding the truth -- San Francisco Chronicle "Surpasses all the other books on writing already out there -- even the wonderful stuff by Natalie Goldberg, John Gardner, and Annie Dillard." -- Seattle Times "Well-written, funny, and useful." -- Denver Post "I ended up reading it twice and expect to dip into it again in times of need. I recommend this book to other writers without reservation....This woman is uncanny." -- Marie Winn, Wall Street Journal "A quirky, personal, mordant, down-to-earth guide to fiction writing by a wonderful novelist essayist. Lamott makes writing seem like something you could actually enjoy." -- The Nation less...
Amazon


Tony T. Says: Stephen King doesn't only scare us with his books. With this one he encourages us to to write and shares his own insights on the practice.
Amazon Says: "If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time or the tools to write." In 1999, Stephen King began to write about his craft -- and his life. By midyear, a wid more...
Amazon Says: "If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time or the tools to write." In 1999, Stephen King began to write about his craft -- and his life. By midyear, a widely reported accident jeopardized the survival of both. And in his months of recovery, the link between writing and living became more crucial than ever. Rarely has a book on writing been so clear, so useful, and so revealing. On Writing begins with a mesmerizing account of King's childhood and his uncannily early focus on writing to tell a story. A series of vivid memories from adolescence, college, and the struggling years that led up to his first novel, Carrie, will afford readers a fresh and often very funny perspective on the formation of a writer. King next turns to the basic tools of his trade -- how to sharpen and multiply them through use, and how the writer must always have them close at hand. He takes the reader through crucial aspects of the writer's art and life, offering practical and inspiring advice on everything from plot and character development to work habits and rejection. Serialized in the New Yorker to vivid acclaim, On Writing culminates with a profoundly moving account of how King's overwhelming need to write spurred him toward recovery, and brought him back to his life. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower -- and entertain -- everyone who reads it. less...
Amazon


Amazon Says: A tribute to the brilliant craftsmanship of one of our most distinguished writers, providing valuable insight into her inspiration and her method Joyce Carol Oates is widely r more...
Amazon Says: A tribute to the brilliant craftsmanship of one of our most distinguished writers, providing valuable insight into her inspiration and her method Joyce Carol Oates is widely regarded as one of America's greatest contemporary literary figures. Having written in a number of genres -- prose, poetry, personal and critical essays, as well as plays -- she is an artist ideally suited to answer essential questions about what makes a story striking, a novel come alive, a writer an artist as well as a craftsman. In The Faith of a Writer, Oates discusses the subjects most important to the narrative craft, touching on topics such as inspiration, memory, self-criticism, and "the unique power of the unconscious." On a more personal note, she speaks of childhood inspirations, offers advice to young writers, and discusses the wildly varying states of mind of a writer at work. Oates also pays homage to those she calls her "significant predecessors" and discusses the importance of reading in the life of a writer. Oates claims, "Inspiration and energy and even genius are rarely enough to make 'art': for prose fiction is also a craft, and craft must be learned, whether by accident or design." In fourteen succinct chapters, The Faith of a Writer provides valuable lessons on how language, ideas, and experience are assembled to create art. less...
Amazon


Amazon Says: In her 93 remarkable years, veteran freelance writer, memoirist, and writing teacher Brenda Ueland published some six million words. She once said there were two simple rules more...
Amazon Says: In her 93 remarkable years, veteran freelance writer, memoirist, and writing teacher Brenda Ueland published some six million words. She once said there were two simple rules that she followed absolutely: to tell the truth, and not do anything she didn't want to do. Such integrity both distinguishes and defines If You Want to Write, her bestselling classic that first appeared in the late 1930s and has inspired thousands to find their own creative center. As Carl Sandburg once remarked, Ueland's primer is "the best book ever written on how to write." less...
Amazon

  • Poets & Writers
    The online presence of the nation's largest nonprofit organization serving creative writers is a tremendous resource that offers tools for writers, information on writing contests as well as workshops, retreats and residencies across the United States.
  • Absolute Write
    This website offers interviews with authors, current commentary and inspiration as well as links to helpful resources for writers.
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