Writing a Novel this Summer? 3 Books to Get You Inspired, Equipped, and Nailing that Page Count


Summer is here and it’s time to write! Maybe your schedule has opened up or maybe you’ve just decided that it’s time to buckle down and pound a novel out– either way, we’re here with some fantastic resources to help you reach your goals.

Image result for walking on water madeleine l'engle

Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeline L’Engle

The lovely Spinning Pen writer Dana Black is currently reading one of my favorite books ever. This short book is perfect for snatched moments during lunch breaks or long afternoons on the porch. No matter how long you spend with it, it gives you something good to think about, and it has profoundly shaped my own practices and understanding of writing.

Read this if you need: a fresh, deep perspective on writing, encouragement and wonder, and a reminder of what makes writing important.

Image result for bird by bird anne lamott


Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

The perfect middle ground.

With humor and empathy, Anne Lamott walks through some of the unique challenges and philosophical questions that accost anyone trying to write. Its first half is dedicated to concrete writing techniques and strategies while the second half delves into the mindset of the writer with realistic, kind advice on how to nurture the good parts and deal with the bad.  

Read this if you need: practical writing instruction and insight on how to develop your perspective on the world as a writer.


Image result for is life like this john dufresne

Is Life Like This?: A Guide to Writing Your First Novel in Six Months by John Dufresne

If you’re someone who thrives on goals and deadlines (or just can’t function without them), this is your book. It helps you build your story from the excavation site all the way to the last decorating touches and it’s all broken into beautiful, week-long chunks. Even if this isn’t your first novel, Dufresne’s combination of his own writing process and a slew of writing tools forms an engaging, insightful resource.

Read this if you need: tools to get that story done even if you’re starting from scratch.


Whatever you do, remember to take care of yourself this summer. Give yourself the tools and fuel you need to write well (that includes drinking water and standing up every once in a while) and don’t get too hung up on reading a whole book if you only need a section. And write!


Abigail signing off to query one million agents (and get some good BBQ as a reward)

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