This book wasn’t exactly what I was looking for but it was helpful in ways unexpected. Zinsser serves as the editor for this collection of chapters written by author’s of acclaimed memoirs. Where I was seeking practical, five-step plans for how to write, this book gets more to the heart of why we write. Most of the contributors were unfamiliar to me, and the only one I’ve read is Annie Dillard, but each of them offered me some good ideas to consider. I was most encouraged by the final three entries from Dillard, Ian Frazier, and Toni Morrison because the formed, to me at least, a collective voice of inspiration for a memoir I’m contemplating about Nobody’s Normal. None were written for that purpose, yet that’s exactly what they’ve done. The ideas in this book won’t motivate you to sit down and write your novel and there isn’t any talk of marketing, audience, or query letters. Each author explores what impelled them to write and what they learned about themselves and the writing process as they toiled. I’m sure I’ll look back over my underlines and notes multiple times in the future.
I found many good quotes on the writing process and included them on the “Writing Wisdom” page on this blog.