10 Best Books About Writing Update 05/2022

Here are two simple truths about writing: You can learn how to write, and all good writers also read. You can do two things at once by reading books about writing.

Back in the late 1990s, I ran one of the first websites that offered online workshops for writers. I was in charge of running the site. Almost every week, a publishing company would send me one of their new books for writers in the hope that I would write a good review. The bottom line is: I’ve read a lot of books about how to write and how to live the writing life, and I’ve learned a lot from them. This list includes some of my favorite old books and some new ones that I think will help wordslingers of all kinds, from bloggers to content producers to budding novelists to poets, improve their skills.

The Best Writing How-To Books

Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley

Bloggers and content creators should use this.

There are a lot of new blog posts and other types of content on the web every single day. Need-to-have guide: Ann Handley’s book is a must-read for anyone who wants to make content that stands out in a crowded field. With an easy-to-follow tone, she talks about everything from how to write to grammar and usage to the best ways to do it. Even though I don’t like all of Handley’s ideas, I think his formula for writing content that makes the reader feel and tells a good story are my favorite. This isn’t just a how-to-write guide. It will also help you figure out what to write about.

Write Tight: Say Exactly What You Mean with Precision and Power by William Brohaugh

It is best for everyone who writes.

Writers are told to make their writing short and to the point. What a great idea, but how can you do it? Brohaugh, a former editor of Writer’s Digest, gives you all the information you need in this book. He tells writers to cut down on redundancy, find and squash empty modifiers, and get rid of other things that slow them down when they write. Brohaugh’s guide is sometimes criticized for being a little too detailed, but when I read it about a decade ago, it made me think about things in a new way, which is why I think it’s worth reading.

The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century by Steven Pinker

It is best for everyone who writes.

Despite the fact that Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style has been around for a long time, its prescriptive approach to language might not be for everyone. Professor Steven Pinker comes in with a more modern view. While it’s important to know and follow the rules when it makes sense to do so, expressive writing often comes from breaking them. His witty approach knows this. Writing novices might find this book hard to read, but it’s full of useful information for people who already know how to write well and want to improve.

You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins.

It’s best for people who write blogs, make content, and write indie books.

As an author, blogger, and speaker, Jeff Goins has a great job. He started writing because he was interested in it. If you want to be a good writer, Goins gives you a map. Getting your hard work out there isn’t as important as the art of writing in You Are a Writer. There are a lot of good places to start if you want to build your platform and become a professional author.

Stein On Writing by Sol Stein

Creative writers are the best people to use this for.

There are a lot of books that give advice on how to deal with writer’s angst, get out of a creative rut, and live life as a word person. This is not one of them. Stein On Writing is not one of them. In this book, you’ll learn everything you need to know about writing from a veteran editor, author, and teacher. If you’re ready to get down to the nuts and bolts of writing and really improve your skills, this book is for you.

1001 Ways to Write Great Fiction, Get Published, and Earn Your Audience by Chuck Wendig

People who write fiction should use this

People who are sensitive or easily offended should not read Chuck Wendig’s writing. His “no holds barred” style is full of humor, social commentary, and swear words. But what his book gives you is a modern guide to becoming a better fiction writer that’s written in short, easy-to-read truth bombs. This from a successful blogger, screenwriter, and author of many books, including the New York Times best-selling Star Wars: Aftermath, which she wrote.

The Best Books about Living the Writing Life

7 On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

People who write fiction should use this. Any author who wants to write a book should put On Writing on their “to read” or “reread” list. How to write and how to tell your own story are two parts of King’s book, which has been called a modern classic. Three times I’ve read it. I love King’s stories about how his life experiences made him a better writer from the start, even when he was a little boy. Seeing how King and his young family were living off the land moved me. When his editor called to tell him that the paperback rights for Carrie, his breakout book, sold for $400,000. I’m moved by this story.

So not only does On Writing tell the story of how one hugely successful writer came to be, but it also shows you how to write like you’re sitting across from him, drinking coffee and getting his best advice.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

Creative writers are the best people to use this for.

A lot of times, writers think they are better than they are. When Anne Lamott lets us see into her own flaws, she takes some of the pain out of the things that make writers unhappy, like perfectionism and insomnia. She does it all with her well-known humor and wit. It’s like having a crazy writer aunt who you can talk to about things. Then you’ll learn a few things.

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within Natalie Goldberg

Creative writers are the best people to use this for.

She says that if you want to write truthfully and powerfully, you have to connect with yourself. People who write should trust their minds and bodies to lead them, she says. A lot of people can relate to her voice because it is open and sometimes vulnerable. Her inspirational and wildly creative methods have helped writers find their voices for more than 30 years.

Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

Creative writers are the best people to use this for.

In the form of some Fahrenheit 451 bookends, I own a piece of Ray Bradbury’s old California home. I couldn’t leave his book off the list. ZEN IN THE ART OF WRITING is a collection of essays on how to be a better writer. It comes from a well-known sci-fi author. “Every morning, I get out of bed and step on a landmine.” Keep your highlighter (physical or digital) close by so you can write down all the phrases that you want to remember. There is a landmine inside of me, and it is going to hurt me. There is a lot of work to be done. Your turn. Jump!”

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