Every Six Months

Years ago, in a management class our instructor said that if you want to be a good manager/leader then you must constantly read new material on the subject. He told us that he had personally made it a point to read a new management book every six months.

Stack of Books

I’ve always thought that was good advice. And so I’ve tried to follow it in my life as a writer. If I want to be a good writer then I must constantly learn about the craft. (Try it for yourself, “If I want to be a good (fill in the blank) then I must constantly learn about the craft”- See? It works pretty well, right?)

It’s why I buy Writer’s Digest every month. And why I fork over big bucks to get a copy of the imported British magazine Writer’s Forum. I read both from cover to cover. But as good as they are, there comes a time when much of the information becomes rehashed old news.

For this post, I thought I’d use you, the readers to come up with a crowd-sourced list of good books, magazines, or publications for writers to read in order to learn more about the craft of writing. What are the ones that speak to you, that offer a new perspective, and that make you learn more about your craft?

May I also suggest that you then bookmark this post and return to it, oh say, every six months?


Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.

Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). (www.simplethrift.wordpress.com) She writes about her chickens for GRIT, Backyard Poultry, Chicken Community, and Mother Earth News.

10 thoughts on “Every Six Months

  1. Hi there, I’m in the UK and graduated from Writers’ Forum to Writing Magazine as I felt it was for the more experienced writer. A lot of my writing friends take both. We never stop learning but entering competitions helps to keep us writing. Julie. ( author of Never Run Away and A Lesson for the Teacher)

  2. Very interesting post. I think you received good advice. Even now, I have my subscription to WD on my printer–ready to go to the P.O. I usually purchase my writing magazines from the bookstore on a whenever-I-happen-to-be-there basis. Like you, I get the feeling of reading the same thing over and over. Sometimes I think if I see Hemingway’s famous and now tired advice to “kill your darlings” one more time, I’m gonna scream!

    There are tons of good writing books out there. Everyone mentions Stephen King’s ON WRITING…and for good reason…it’s good. Here’s a few others you might want to try out.
    THE WAR OF ART — Stephen Pressfield
    BIRD BY BIRD — Ann Lamont
    LINE BY LINE –Claire Kehrwald Cook. (this one is for self-editing)

    Now having listed these books, and there’s a ton more out there, I would say this: Another way or in conjunction with, reading books on writing, simply read good fiction. Read books that you like or authors whom you enjoy. Pay close attention to how those authors “write” certain scenes. Look at their dialogue, their descriptive writing, their character depiction. I would also advise you to read poetry. Read the classics and the moderns and any current poet you like. Poetry gives a refined sense of language.

    I didn’t mean to go on and on, but hey, what can I say! 🙂 I hope some of this makes some sense for you. 🙂

  3. I have in the past subscribed to Mslexia a UK magazine aimed specifically at female writers. Lots of really interesting articles including many on the craft of writing.

  4. Very good advice. Maybe 6 months interval of reading new books is good for those that have been reading all their lives, I think one new book should be read each month by those that just found their love in reading to master the craft as you rightly stated. One cannot be a good writer without first being a very good reader.

    Thanks for sharing.

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