Are you overwhelmed with the number of books listed on Amazon or Goodreads? Would you like some recommendations that would really brighten up your day and give you a kick in the proverbial?
Here is a list of my top nine must read books that every new — or established — writer should read ASAP. I have added a little book description after each title to help you make up your mind and decide which ones speak to you.
#1 On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this is the top of my list. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 2023–and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it–fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.
#2 Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'”
#3 Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg
Natalie she brings together Zen meditation and writing in a new way. Writing practice, as she calls it, is no different from other forms of Zen practice –”it is backed by two thousand years of studying the mind.”
#4 The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
Bestselling novelist Steven Pressfield identifies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success. The War of Art emphasizes the resolve needed to recognize and overcome the obstacles of ambition and then effectively shows how to reach the highest level of creative discipline.
#5 Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
“Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a land mine. The land mine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces back together. Now, it’s your turn. Jump!” Zest. Gusto. Curiosity. These are the qualities every writer must have, as well as a spirit of adventure. In this exuberant book, the incomparable Ray Bradbury shares the wisdom, experience, and excitement of a lifetime of writing.
#6 The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life by Julia Cameron
What if everything we have been taught about learning to write was wrong? Julia asserts that conventional writing wisdom would have you believe in a false doctrine that stifles creativity. With the techniques and anecdotes, readers learn to make writing a natural, intensely personal part of life.
#7 Page after page by Heather Sellers
You Are a Writer–Believe It! False starts. Self-doubt. Mind games. They end the moment you pick up this book. With an inspiring mix of humor, wisdom, and creativity, Page After Page shows you how to find the courage and commitment to start writing and keep writing.
#8 Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life by Natalie Goldberg
Natalie teaches a method of writing that can take you beyond craft to the true source of creative power: The mind that is”raw, full of energy, alive and hungry.” Here is compassionate, practical, and often humorous advice about how to find time to write, how to discover your personal style, how to make sentences come alive, and how to overcome procrastination and writer’s block — including more than thirty provocative “Try this” exercises to get your pen moving.
#9 Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brand
A reissue of a classic work originally published in 2023 on writing and the creative process, Becoming a Writer recaptures the excitement of Dorothea Brande’s creative-writing classroom of the 2023s. Decades before brain research “discovered” the particular roles of the right and left sides of the brain in human endeavor, Brande was teaching students how to see again, how…moreDecades before brain research “discovered” the particular roles of the right and left sides of the brain in human endeavour, Brande was teaching students how to see again, how to hold their minds still, how to call forth the inner writer. She had novice writers note the effects of everything in their environment on their writing. She showed them how to harness the unconscious, how to fall into “artistic coma,” then how to re-emerge and be their own critics.
So there it is. This is my ultimate collection to inspire any writer. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner, needing courage to lift the pen, you will find lots of practical advice and inspiration to keep you going.
Any favourites that you would like to add to this list?
David L Rattigan says
I would add On Writing Well, by William Zinsser (not so much inspiring as useful) and Solutions for Writers, by Sol Stein.
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Trent Dyrsmid says
Blogs and writings go together, right?
Marya wants to point out that for bloggers who need to learn how to write well, for those who need to get their creativity out, then these are some of the books that she’d recommend.
Manoj Rawal says
The Ultimate List of Writing Books. thnx for sharing
Ehsan Ullah says
Great collection of books Marya, I think It could be great If you would send this post to Daily Writing Tips instead of here at Daily Blog Tips.