Can you believe it's been a year? (and prizes!)

A Writing Challenge and Book Recommendations for You

I want to say a huge THANK YOU! It’s now been one year since I started Because You Write and some of you have been consistently reading and opening my little letters since then!

To celebrate, I’m sharing some of my favorite books for writers and announcing a writing challenge (with prizes!).

I feel very grateful for this community and writing to you is seriously one of my favorite parts of my week. It reminds me why I write. When I push publish, in a magazine, on Medium, or here in this newsletter, I’m always hoping to make an impact and help people in some way.

Isn’t that what we all want to do as writers?

Yes, we write for self-expression. (I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have writing to express myself!)

Yes, we write to learn and gain insight. Writing is fantastic for both of those.

But mainly, we write to add value of some kind to our readers’ lives. Value can be many things: giving them a laugh, teaching something, encouraging them, opening their worldview, helping them feel less alone in their experience…

So, here’s my offering to you today. I hope you find some value in it (the details of the contest are at the bottom):

My Favorite Books for Writers for 2020/21:

Fierce Attachments by Vivian Gornick. This beautifully written memoir was selected by the The New York Times book critics as the #1 Best Memoir of the Past 50 Years, and I can see why! I’m halfway through and loving it.

Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott. I was surprised by this book. I bought it thinking it was a craft book but it reads more like memoir. Rather than teach you how to write, this book makes you feel inspired to write!

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up by Lee Gutkind. Lee Gutkind is the editor of Creative Nonfiction Magazine. This is one of the books we use in the Creative Nonfiction Academy. It’s packed full of great information to help you improve your craft. I’m constantly highlighting and underlining passages. This is a book I keep going back to.

Group by Christie Tate. I interviewed Christie this year for an article I published on Medium and in WOW: Women in Writing Magazine. Christie was published in Modern Love, NYT a few years ago and in October 2020 released her memoir, Group. It was immediately picked up as the “book of the month” for Reese Witherspoon’s book club.

And great news! Christie has agreed to donate her book as one of the prizes for my writing challenge this month! There are other great prizes too, like writing consultations sponsored by WOW! Women on Writing Blog.

Writing challenges are a fun way to stretch your skills and try something new. I can’t wait to see what you write!

Check it out:

Details on the Inspired Writer Christmas Challenge.

(Let me know if you have trouble viewing them). If you think someone else would enjoy entering too, please share.

Thanks again!