Monday, December 12, 2011


by Anna DePalo

In my ongoing quest for spiritual illumination, the answer to the universe and the magic bullet for writing a powerhouse novel in the shortest amount of time possible, I’ve come to this conclusion: We Have Met The Enemy and She Is Us.

Procrastination, self-doubt, and perfectionism are just some of the enemies of the writer. Then, of course, there are the more mundane ones: bad grammar, poor punctuation, and pesky homonyms.

For the purposes of this article, I’ll stick to the spiritual (non-mundane). A good writers’ conference, workshop or talk is great for recharging your batteries, of course. But in between, I turn to other things for inspiration. Living is the best one: watch television, read a good book, get a massage, go out with friends, and keep abreast of the zeitgeist.

And then there’s what I call the “self-help for writers” industry, chiefly in--what else?--print. Here are some titles that I’ve found helpful therapy for my writer self:

TIME TO WRITE: MORE THAN 100 PROFESSIONAL WRITERS REVEAL HOW TO FIT WRITING INTO YOUR BUSY LIFE by Kelly L. Stone. Need a literate spanking? This is the book for you. Stone subtitles her manual “No excuses. No distractions. No more blank pages.”

WRITER MAMA: HOW TO RAISE A WRITING CAREER ALONGSIDE YOUR KIDS by Christina Katz. Have young saboteurs in your life? This book is for you. It is geared toward non-fiction querying of magazines, newspapers and the like, but the overall message—divided into sections on preparation, practice, professionalism and poise—is for anyone.

FALL IN LOVE LIKE A ROMANCE WRITER: YOUR FAVORITE NOVELISTS SHARE THEIR SECRET KEYS TO A LONG AND LASTING LOVE, edited by Amelia Grey. This one could be titled CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE ROMANCE WRITER’S SOUL. Not all the entries are about finding The One, but every one is a celebration of love in one form or another. The contributors are married, divorced, never married and widowed.

IF YOU WANT TO WRITE: A BOOK ABOUT ART, INDEPENDENCE AND SPIRIT by Brenda Ueland. It is a bit ponderous, but also a classic dating from 1938 and still available. Check out, in particular, Chapter X: “Why Women Who Do Too Much Housework Should Neglect It for Their Writing.”

And if none of the above works for you, get out the New Age crystals. Peace.♥

USA TODAY best-selling author Anna DePalo's latest book is IMPROPERLY WED (Nov. 2011). You can join her e-mailing list at, and catch her on Facebook or

1 comment:

  1. Terrific list... Thank you. I'm going to put TIME TO WRITE on my Christmas list this year.