Writer Book List : Books to Inspire and Guide

This may be one of the most common questions I’m asked when people find out I’m a writer. Why? Because almost every knows somebody who desperately wants to write. I know which books have had the greatest influence on me and I often direct people to those. A few months back, I opted to poll some fellow writers for their favorites. Here’s what I’ve learned – and a writer book list.

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What I Learned

First and foremost, a lesson I learned eons ago when I was a wee lass at a Young Author’s Conference at the University of Toledo. If you want to be a writer, you must find time to read. Consider it a part of your practice, your training. Nothing irks me more than hearing would-be writers say they do not have time to read. Then you don’t have time to be a writer. Period. Every writer I know is an avid reader. You should be devouring books if you want to be a writer for crying out loud. Is there any profession you can think of that does not continue to learn and grow over the course of a career? No. Stop making excuses and freaking pick up a book. End rant.

Second, we all read a lot of the same books on writing and creating. There are some rather universal options as you’ll note on my list (which, I am giving fair warning, is not by any means comprehensive). I have read every book on this list, some more than once. I own almost all of them. My copies are marked up and tabbed and well used – some have even been replaced from overuse. The point is, you can’t be good at anything if you aren’t willing to put in the time.

Finally, read as much as you can in the genre you are writing in. Decipher what works and what doesn’t. What do you want to do different?

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Without further ado, here’s the list. The books are in no particular order. I’m including the affiliate links for Amazon should you wish to order the books. There is no extra charge but I may receive a small commission for the referral. Just click on the book title and you’re there!

Writer Book List

On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

The Artist’s Way: 25th Anniversary Edition by Julie Cameron

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity by Ray Bradbury

Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark

Invisible Ink: A Practical Guide to Building Stories that Resonate by Brian McDonald

Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind by Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire

Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish by James Scott Bell

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

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp

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

Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff Vandermeer

The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition by Strunk & White

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss

Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English by Patricia T. O’Conner


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