Art & Fear, a small 120-page volume by David Bayles and Ted Orland, is one of my favorite writing guides, though it's really about all kinds of art and has none of those "Always give your characters a distinguishing physical trait" kind of tips. Here's the first paragraph:
Making art is difficult. We leave drawings unfinished and stories unwritten. We do work that does not feel like our own. We repeat ourselves. We stop before we have mastered our materials, or continue on long after their potential is exhausted. Often the work we have not done seems more real in our minds than the pieces we have completed. And so questions arise: How does art get done? Why, often, does it not get done? And what is the nature of the difficulties that stop so many who start?It's really a wonderful meditation on questions of why we make art, why we insist on subjecting the world to these things we make, and why an activity that should be fun and liberating and joyous is often anything but.
This probably isn't a book that every writer will find interesting. But if you're one of those who write for a while, then agonize for a while, then write some, then quit, then agonize about quitting... you'll appreciate the endless insights offered here.
Now, to the woodstove.