Ten Books on Writing Every Author Should Read

by | Mar 29, 2024 | Blog

Every writer has their favorite books on writing. Here are a few of my own.

My collection of books on writing is growing by the day. It was hard to pick favorites, but here are a few. I’d love to hear your own thoughts on these, or others I may not know about!

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 book is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft. I was dubious, I’ll admit, as I don’t read King. (Don’t get me wrong. He’s amazing! I just HATE to be terrified, and he is the ultimate king of terror.) His breakdown of the basic tools of writing every writer must have is a must-read for anyone serious about the art.

2. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life” by Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott’s approachable and humorous advice on the writing process and life as a writer makes Bird by Bird a perennial favorite. Her concept of “the shitty first draft” is an essential one to embody.

3. The Elements of Style” by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

This timeless guide to clear, concise, and powerful writing is as essential as it gets. Strunk and White’s principles help writers craft statements with precision and clarity, making The Elements of Style a foundational read.

4. Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within” by Natalie Goldberg

Goldberg combines the practices of writing and Zen meditation to free writers from self-doubt and encourage spontaneous writing. Her exercises push you to write prolifically, making it easier to find your unique voice.

5. The Writing Life” by Annie Dillard

Annie Dillard’s exploration of the writer’s world offers solace and inspiration. The Writing Life delves into the creative process, the labor of writing, and the writer’s solitary existence with poetic precision.

6. Make a Scene” by Jordan Rosenfeld

Many fresh writers struggle to differentiate scene from exposition. Rosenfeld’s book breaks it down beautifully. I’ve referred to her advice often, while working on my novel-in-progress The Cuttlefish.

7. The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression” by Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman

Conveying the scope of human emotion can be a challenge for any writer. While not strictly a book on writing itself, this gem of a book is an essential resource all the same.

8. “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles” by Steven Pressfield

Pressfield’s book is a lifesaver for writers struggling with procrastination and self-doubt. His identification of ‘Resistance’ as the enemy of creativity has empowered countless writers to overcome their creative blocks.

9. The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers” by Betsy Lerner

Offering a unique perspective from the other side of the manuscript, Lerner’s book is a blend of empathy, practical advice, and insider knowledge on the publishing world. It’s a must-read for those looking to understand the editorial process.

10. The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity” by Julia Cameron

Julia Cameron’s book is a revolutionary program for artistic recovery and discovery. Her concept of morning pages and artist dates are tools many writers have adopted to unleash their creativity.


What are Your Favorite Books on Writing?

From the practicalities of grammar to the meta skills of creativity management, each book presents a unique glimpse into the art. I know I missed many others! What are your favorite books on writing? Let me know if the comments below.

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andrea gabriel

About Andrea

Andrea Gabriel is an author & illustrator whose work, both for children and adults, is grounded in her love for the natural world. She has illustrated more than ten books for the children's trade market and written several more. Her books have been published by Charlesbridge, Albert Whitman and Co., Dawn Publications, Sasquatch Books, and Arbordale. She has published for the adult market under the name A.G. Bennett. She lives in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, with her family of two and four-footed creatures.

She works as a writing coach with The Narrative Project and with select private clients.

Books by Andrea Gabriel

For Adults

Shepherd's Derelict, front cover of book

For Children

My Favorite Bear
Wandering Woolly

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