Reading about writing

The second LEaD Writing Group sessions took place last week. As usual, there was a good combination of lively discussion, sharing of ideas and time to focus on writing.

In the session we looked at the idea that, “reading and writing go hand in hand” (Goodson, 2013, p. 34). Reading good writing can help you to improve your own writing. We used an activity set out by Patricia Goodson, who suggests reading books about writing can tell us, “a trick or two about writing better” (2013, p. 34).

This activity can be combined with your writing routine in the following way:

  1. Choose a book about writing that you would like to read.
  2. Read it for about 10 minutes at the beginning of your writing session.
  3. If you find a useful suggestion, note it down. Perhaps start a writing journal where you can keep notes on your reading, writing and exercises. Then try to incorporate that suggestion into your writing session.
A selection of reading on writing
A selection of reading about writing

I provided a few choice texts on writing from City Library (see list below), which inspired in different ways. Some people were fascinated by Zerubavel’s (1999) emphasis on developing a writing schedule. Whilst another participant felt that Lamott’s (1995) description of having self-compassion – of not being overly self-critical, was helpful.

Are there any books about writing that have been an inspiration to you?

If so, please share them with us by commenting on this post below.

Alternatively, bring ideas and suggestions along to the next LEaD Writing Group session on Wednesday 7th or Thursday 8th September, 13:00 – 14:00 in the LEaD Training room (B310).


Here are a few books that you might find interesting:

Lamott, A. (1995) Bird by bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. New York: Random House.

Murray, R. and Moore, S. (2006) The Handbook of Academic Writing: A Fresh Approach. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Rosenblatt, R. (2011) Unless it Moves the Human Heart: The Craft and Art of Writing. New York: Harper Collins.

Zerubavel, E. (1999) The Clockwork Muse: A Practical Guide to Writing Theses, Dissertations, and Books. London: Harvard University Press.

Zinsser, W. (2009) Writing Places: The Life Journey of a Writer and Teacher. New York: Harper.

Zinsser, W. (2006) On Writing Well. 7th edn. New York: Harper Collins.


Goodson, P. (2013) Becoming an Academic Writer: 50 exercises for paced, productive, and powerful writing. Los Angeles: SAGE publications.

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2 thoughts on “Reading about writing

  1. It was a really useful session. Thanks, Dan. I’m learning a lot through these meetings – about my writing perspective and about myself.
    List of references much appreciated.

    1. Excellent. I’m glad to hear that the sessions are proving useful. Feel free to add any suggestions to the references.

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