Of all of the books that have influenced my approach to writing, Natalie Goldberg's Wild Mind is the most memorable. This book is like a crazy aunt who says all sorts of nutty things, makes you cringe every so often, and then bursts out with truly insightful and encouraging advice just when you need it most.
The best part of having a crazy aunt is that it makes you seem a little less crazy by comparison. And that frees you to enjoy doing your own cringe-worthy things.
In other words, this book is enormously freeing. It makes you feel like writing crazy, embarrassing and, yes, cringe-worthy things is the most natural thing in the world. And before you know it, you're pouring your mind out onto a piece of paper, picking through the good and the bad without judgment, and finding great stuff there.
I've read this book twice, each time taking extensive notes and getting more courageous by the page. Now I've given the book away to another writer friend, and I hope she'll do the same thing: read it twice, suck all the marrow out of it, and then give it away to yet another writer friend.
Buy this book, read it, and use it. You'll thank me after the first few pages.