Write to Change the World Books

How do you write to change the world? It’s certainly a question I’m dancing with – how to fashion words about my experiences and insights that move you to love your life and love the world?

Here are the books that are helping me learn how to do that – I hope.   (Taos gals, if you can, read one or two of these books so we can discuss over enchiladas and tortilla soup on the flagstone porch or hiding in the library from the afternoon thunderstorms!)

Ensouling Language by Stephen Harrod Buhner

Elevates self-help and non-fiction writing to the level of art. Illuminates how to write honestly and other delicate subjects with detailed clarity. Delivers tough love and invites you to play a bigger game. Golden for anyone trying to write to teach, inform, pass on knowledge.

Write to Change the World by Mary Pipher

Her earlier book Reviving Ophelia changed my life, but I kept putting off reading this no matter how many times my friend Mary told me to. Why did I avoid this book? Fear of taking on the truth that I can write to change the world. Get thee to this book if you want to take up the mantle of service through writing.

Ron Carlson Writes a Story by Ron Carlson

The process of writing is fleeting and mysterious. Leave it to Ron Carlson to capture the thinking and feeling involved in writing a story. Like being inside a master writer’s head – weird and wonderful. Helps you see and trust your own process which is so so so vital to claiming your truth and trusting it. Thanks to Patti Digh for this one. Join us in September.

The Writer’s Portable Mentor: A Guide to Art, Craft, and the Writing Life by Priscilla Long

The best writing teacher I ever had. This is the fruit of her many years of teaching and writing. Priscilla teaches stuff nobody else does, like structure.  I teach from this book in Taos. Will make your writing more effective X 1000.

Story Catcher by Christina Baldwin

Christina is my mentor and friend. This book will change forever how you honor the power of story. Create a better story for a better world.

What’s your favorite writing book that helps you write to change the world? How did it help you? Do tell!


P.S. Just in case you missed it: Yesterday I had the privilege of being over at Tara Sophia Mohr’s place…having conversation about Savoring and Serving. She’s one of the amazing women who will be attending my Writer’s Retreat in Taos next month – writing to change the world. Be one of them. Join us.

Joanna - June 18, 2011

Thank you Jen. I have 2 of these, just ordered “Ensouling Language,” and will buy Priscilla’s book at the Chuckanut Writers Conference in Bellingham next weekend. Can’t wait to dive in. Looking forward to Taos.  

    jenniferlouden - June 18, 2011

    Can’t wait to hear what you learn at the conference! Is she speaking?

      Joanna - June 18, 2011

      Yes!  She’s doing a breakout session on “THE VIRTUOSO SENTENCE”.  🙂 

Deb - June 18, 2011

Brenda Ueland’s “If You Want to Write” was one of the early “permission slips” I discovered when I began to believe that it might (yes, please) be possible to move from being a PR writer to being a “real writer.”  The book was published in the late 30’s, but other than a few dated phrases here and there, it’s a brave manifesto on writing and living authentically. I recommend it over and over again. (and realize as i write this, that it’s been a while since i’ve read it; might be time to pick it up again …)

    jenniferlouden - June 18, 2011

    Sent from my iPad and my Heart

Sharon - June 18, 2011

Thanks for sharing these. I will miss you this summer. So much fun and healing was had by me at my past two events. I know this year will be yummilicious.

Marianne - June 18, 2011

I’m so looking forward to this, and still trying to entice a very dear friend who I know you will love (Jen Lemen) down to join us as well. It’s going to be a very special time. Thanks for the delicious ‘homework’

    jenniferlouden - June 18, 2011

    Tell that girl to come!!!

Britt Bravo - June 23, 2011

I love Mary Pipher’s book!

Daniela - July 2, 2011

Marion Roach’s “The Memoir Project – A Thouroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & Life”. I have discovered it quite recently and I am still under the charm.

    jenniferlouden - July 7, 2011

    Shall read, thanks!

Sarah - October 29, 2011

Thank you for this list.  I am going to squirrel this list away.  Another one that I find to be a great resource is Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.  Be blessed!

Donna - November 22, 2012

Hi Jennifer – thank you so much for these book suggestions! I downloaded Ensouling Language to my Kindle to begin reading and put Mary Pipher’s book on my wishlist to order next along with Story Catcher.

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