Creative writing may not make you a bestselling author, but it will make you a damn good editor. If you’re able, take some classes. Your hopes will be crushed, dreams shattered. But your writing-editing ability will improve.

More than likely, you’re going to get the following texts to study:

For Inspiration & Wisdom

  • Bird by Bird — Anne Lamott
  • The Creative Process — Brewster Ghiselin

For Craft & Skill

  • Cathedral — Raymond Carver
  • The Moth — Helena Maria Viramontes
  • Every single short story by Flannery O’Connor
  • Hills Like Elephants — Ernest Hemingway
  • The Dubliners — James Joyce
  • George Saunders
  • Jesus’ Son — Denis Johnson
  • Edgar Allen Poe
  • T. Coraghessan Boyle
  • Zora Neale Thurston

For Memoir

  • Mary Karr & Tobias Wolff

For Mechanics

  • Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style (a must!)


My dad weighs in. His recommendations include:

– Henry Miller’s Big Sur & the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch

– Celine’s Death on the Installment Plan