While deep in the dissertation process, it can be very helpful to ignite the “reading-writing connection” by having books nearby that help the “writer within.” These are written by authors who have perhaps self-consciously thought hard about the rigor of the writing process and have decided to write a book about it. The authors might weave stories that serve as parables that reveal strategies of overcoming the odds. They aren’t directive as “self-help” books are, and their authors might be better known as novelists and/or creative non-fiction writers.


The list below contains titles of those types of books that are very readable and helpful in supporting the writing process. The authors are intentional in sharing their critical self-reflections on their personal writing process and what they’ve learned from others. They might touch upon the spiritual connection to writing. The authors might also share some wisdoms as well as practical advice. Above all, they inspire others to write. Here’s my list of those books that line a nearby shelf.  These are the books that I take down to help me stay in the creative process, and you might be surprised that several have been around for a few decades…


Annie Dillard – The Writing Life

Peter Elbow – Writing with Power

Natalie Goldberg – Writing Down to the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

Stephen King – On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Anne Lamott – Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing & Life

John McPhee – Draft No.4: On the Writing Process

Eudora Welty – One Writer’s Beginnnings

William Zinsser – On Writing Well