by Marshal Zeringue
J.T. Ellison is the author of the critically acclaimed Taylor Jackson series: All the Pretty Girls, 14, and Judas Kiss.
Last week I asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
The holidays have just ended, which means I’ve done my annual revamp of my writing system and set my goals for the year. Every Christmas, I take a week off from writing and focus on the art of the craft. First up is Stephen King’s glorious On Writing, one of the best writing books out there. By the end of the year, I’ve become so bogged down with deadlines and To Do lists that I stop reading for pleasure. King’s book helps me refocus, gives me permission to read what I want, to enjoy the art of reading for its own sake instead of simply for research. It’s invaluable advice, because I find that when I’m reading, I write cleaner and more voraciously.
I added a new book to the fray this year, another that’s going on my annual recharge list, Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit. This is a must read for any creative person, be you writer, painter, dancer, musician…. I was so struck by her concepts, the approach she takes to harness her creativity – because honestly, as artists, we sometimes lose the forest for the trees when it comes to creating. Tharp’s insouciant attitude, honesty and work ethic barrel through the pages, making every chapter a foray into the parts of your psyche that you don’t often credit for honing your craft. She’s helped me reconnect with the joy of the creative process, not just the rush I feel from writing.
Julie Morgenstern’s Time Management from the Inside Out was a big hit with me this week, because I’m looking for efficiencies in my schedule that will allow me more creative time. I used the book to create a Time Map, one that schedules all my waking hours, and flips my writing day so I write in the morning, then deal with business in the afternoon. I’m excited to try this new method.
And finally, I rounded out the week with Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss. Just excellent, funny and accessible to everyone.