Book Club: Bigger Picture Reads

Welcome back to Bigger Picture Reads! Delving into Natalie Goldberg’s Wild Mind, Melissa most certainly stoked the fires of inspiration for us, didn’t she? And what a great way to start a writer’s book club: by poking at the long dormant embers of desire within us.

I do hope I can follow up on that and breathe a little air on those fires now, to see if we can encourage that little warm glow to burst into flame.

Let’s get started, shall we?

The book with which I want to begin is a book I’ve already read – and a book I am always reading. It’s my writer’s bible, if you will, always kept within easy reach. Regular readers of my blog will have heard me mention it (gush about it) before. It really is a book that belongs on every writer’s bookshelf. The book I’m talking about is, of course, Judy Reeves’ A Writer’s Book of Days: A Spirited Companion and Lively Muse for the Writing Life, which you should be able to find in most major bookstores. But if not, you can find it online at Barnes & Noble or on Amazon. Here is her website too. The book is just chock full of down-to-earth advice and divine inspiration. I know no better way to cultivate a friendship with your Muse.

In the meantime, while you get your hands on a copy of her book, I’d like to put a question out to you. Are you ready? Okay, here it is:

What is your writing goal?

Do you secretly dream of writing a novel? A memoir? A handbook on parenting? Do you wish to cultivate a journaling habit? To write better online…or off? Do you wish you knew better how to make words sing?

Share with us your writing dreams – however big or small they may be – so we can best support you in the process. Most specifically for me, I hope to know how best to inspire you. For example, if several of you wish to write non-fiction, it won’t be helpful if I suggest books on how to create fantastic characters, right? So tell me: what is your dream?

Share it in the comments here! Or, if you daren’t do more than whisper it, you can email it to me at: I promise I’ll keep your secret.


16 responses to “Book Club: Bigger Picture Reads

  1. Just got the book for my Kindle! I’m in!

    As for my writing goals: I’m not sure if this is what you’re looking for, but I feel like I’ve been working on descriptions and dialogue for awhile, and lately I’ve been experimenting with creating scenes, but I’d like to practice stitching those scenes together into a story. Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, I want to learn how to sustain a narrative. Does that make sense? Or — does that have anything to do with what this group is about? Suddenly, I’m nervous!

    • That’s perfect! And yes, it makes total sense. I know exactly what you’re talking about, in moving beyond a vignette. And I’d be more than happy to share some resources. Depending on other people’s interests, that’s something we can work on here (which would be SUPER fun!), or I’ll send you some things I’ve found useful separately. Thank you for sharing. I’m excited to see where this leads!

  2. I still don’t know how active I’ll get to be in the book club, but YES I want to write. Specifically, fiction. Among a million other things, I’d like to be more creative with my words — demonstrate an action or emotion without physically *saying* it, you know? Instead of ‘she was heartbroken’, I want to be able to find ways to show it.

    And I’m really interested in character development, too, since you mentioned it 🙂

    • I’m definitely winging this as we go, but I really want to make this as useful to everyone as I can. While it’s great if we have a fabulous discussion every week, I can definitely see some room for doing things we won’t want to actively share online. If we’re delving deeper into fiction (or any writing of extended length, for that matter), a lot might be behind-the-scenes planning or things we want to keep under wraps. A lot may be things that percolate over time, until you have a session where it all pours out. And I want that to be totally okay. Aside from the reading I’ll suggest, I’ll try to keep the questions or exercises I pose open to a variety of ways to respond. And even of the books I do recommend, it most likely won’t be the whole book that we’ll read together. I might focus on specific chapters as per the needs of the group. That’s the goal anyway! We’ll see how it goes!

      I know for sure I’ve gotten some recommended reads for character development, and I’m pretty sure I’ve got some stuff for show-not-tell too. I’ll see what I can do to put together some good reads and exercises!

  3. i can’t believe i’ve never heard of this book!! i’m off to amazon right now…
    and what a wonderful idea… a virtual book/writers club… you bigger picture peeps are certainly fired up!
    and writing goals?? just to write honestly, openly, and trust somebody somewhere connects with the words…
    thank you for this 🙂

  4. I’m so FREAKING excited about this. I have so many writing goals..I’d love to write short stories, be more descriptive and tell the wild stories that are muddling my mind.

    I’d love to have a story / column be published one day. And if I were to have the ultimate dream come true it would be to write a syndicated column and get paid for it. 🙂

    I can’t wait to see what’s next.

    • I’m so excited that you’re excited! 🙂 Those are fabulous goals! And I think you’ll love Reeves’ book for helping push descriptions and get out the stuff inside your head. Her prompts are really great. So excited to have you along!

  5. Ok, writing goal — to get the book I’ve been working on completed and published into an ebook. I’m not sure if I’ll be actively reading along, but I’m very interested in the conversation that comes of this book.

    • So exciting!! I can definitely recommend some stuff on self-editing, and share what I’m learning about the publishing process as I go. If you get hung up at all on the book you’re working on, please do share and maybe we can brainstorm ways past the block!

  6. I also just bought the book and would like to join in.

    My writing goal…to write again. I’ve let it go and now I can’t seem to get it back.

  7. Up, all of the above? I want to launch a freelance career so I want to tighten up my writing and work on more researched pieces, specifically medical/science since that was my background.

    I want to write an e-book (or two) and have ideas.

    I would love to learn how to spin my short stories into a novel. I have a rough idea but don’t really feel like I have any idea how to weave a story through so many chapters.

    Now to get my hands on the book…..

    • Awesome! Those are very exciting goals! It seems like quite a few people want to write larger books, so I will definitely recommend some readings for developing plot & structure, etc. I’ll also cover stuff that I think might help with the self-editing process.

  8. I have a couple of writing ideas; I’d love to write a joint memoir with my dad. I also have an idea for a historical fiction type of novel, based on a woman of the Bible I’m interested in–think “The Red Tent” by Anita Diamant. But I have no idea how to go about writing a novel!!

    • Oh what a lovely idea! When I went to a writer’s conference in 2010, it sounded like memoirs were quite the thing! And I loved “The Red Tent”, so I’m sure I’d love to see what you come up with. It sounds like you’ve got the kernel of an idea for a book – I will definitely be covering plot & structure, which I think will help you expand that kernel into a full outline for a story. I think that’ll be next up, after we finish Reeves’ book.

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