List Headline Image
Updated by John Jantsch on May 31, 2022
Headline for Best Books on Writing
John Jantsch John Jantsch
35 items   61 followers   53 votes   13.04k views

Best Books on Writing

List of books that can help and inspire the writer in everyone


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

Short and snappy as it is, Stephen King's On Writing really contains two books: a fondly sardonic autobiography and a tough-love lesson for aspiring novelists. The memoir is terrific stuff, a vivid description of how a writer grew out of a misbehaving kid.

The Elements of Style (4th Edition)

"...a marvellous and timeless little book... Here, succinctly, elegantly and without fuss are the essentials of writing clear, correct English." John Clare, "The Telegraph" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Think you've got a book inside of you? Anne Lamott isn't afraid to help you let it out. She'll help you find your passion and your voice, beginning from the first really crummy draft to the peculiar letdown of publication.

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Novelist Steven Pressfield (The Legend of Bagger Vance; Gates of Fire) goes self-help in The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle. Dubbing itself a cross between Sun-Tzu's The Art of War and Julie Cameron's The Artist's Way, Pressfield's book aims to help readers "overcome Resistance" so that they may achieve "the unlived life within."

Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing (Quick & Dirty Tips)

Are you a fool for mnemonics? If so, you'll fall head over nubucks for Mignon Fogarty--a.k.a. the Grammar Girl--and her handy new audio guide to writing and speaking well. It's chock-full of smart little anecdotes and memory tricks for felling the most common grammatical foes (who can ever remember the difference between "nauseous" and "nauseated" anyway?)

Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting

Writing for the screen is quirky business. A writer must labor meticulously over his or her prose, yet very little of that prose is ever heard by filmgoers. The few words that do reach the audience, in the form of the characters' dialogue, are, according to Robert McKee, best left to last in the writing process.

The Hero with a Thousand Faces (The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell)

Originally written by Campbell in the '40s-- in his pre-Bill Moyers days -- and famous as George Lucas' inspiration for "Star Wars," this book will likewise inspire any writer or reader in its well considered assertion that while all stories have already been told, this is not a bad thing, since the retelling is still necessary.

The Elements of Story: Field Notes on Nonfiction Writing

"Frank Flaherty's The Elements of Story is a model of good sense, a clear, well-lighted path through the jungle of nonfiction narrative. It represents so much accrued wisdom that even veteran writers will want to keep it on hand, and it's fun to read, too."

Writing in Flow: Keys to Enhanced Creativity

In Writing in Flow, Susan K. Perry applies the theories of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Flow) about the concept of "flow" to the writing process. A writer's being in flow is comparable to an athlete's being in a "zone." "You know you've been in flow," Perry says, "when time seems to have disappeared....

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within (Shambhala Library)

Natalie Goldberg's love of writing stems from her desire to connect with herself. In this audio version of her bestselling Writing Down the Bones, this is a potentially self-absorbed wish, especially considering that the author reads from her own work and interjects morsels of wisdom gleaned from a long writing career, which includes books on writing (Wild Mind, Long Quiet Highway), creativity (The Well of Creativity), and art (Living Color).

APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book

APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book [Guy Kawasaki, Shawn Welch] on FREE super saver shipping on qualifying offers. Essential reading (and reference) for modern authors, regardless of experience. - Kirkus Book Reviews Nuts

On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction

William Zinsser is a writer, editor and teacher. He began his career on the New York Herald Tribune and has since written regularly for leading magazines. During the 1970s he was master of Branford College at Yale. His 17 books, ranging from baseball to music to American travel, include the influential Writing to Learn and Writing About Your Life.

The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition

At the beginning of The Writer's Journey, Christopher Vogler asserts that "all stories consist of a few common structural elements found universally in myths, fairy tales, dreams, and movies." Some may be hard-pressed to accept this idea (and will wonder how storytellers from Homer to Shakespeare to Robert Altman might respond to the proposition).

Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need

Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need [Blake Snyder] on FREE super saver shipping on qualifying offers. This ultimate insider's guide reveals the secrets that none dare admit, told by a show biz veteran who's proven that you can sell your script if you can save the cat!

The Artist's Way

With the basic principle that creative expression is the natural direction of life, Julia Cameron and Mark Bryan lead you through a comprehensive twelve-week program to recover your creativity from a variety of blocks, including limiting beliefs, fear, self-sabotage, jealousy, guilt, addictions, and other inhibiting forces, replacing them with artistic confidence and productivity.

Why I Write

From The New York Times Magazine, December 5, 1976. Copyright 1976 by Joan Didion and The New York Times Company. Used without permission. Of course I stole the title from this talk, from George Orwell. One reason I stole it was that I like the sound of the words: Why I Write. (Thanks Amber)

How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing

A contemporary admonition tells us, "If you talk the talk, you have to be able to walk the walk." Paul Silvia does both; he writes effectively about how to write effectively. Without being either a scold or a Pollyanna, he identifies ways in which each of us can achieve our goals of being more proficient authors.

Children's Writer's Big Book of How To

The eBook No Author's Library Should Be Without. What's the best way to choose a point of view for your story? How can you turn that great idea you have into a best-selling book? How do you write a chapter book? A picture book? A mystery? How do you write a magazine ...

Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins: How to Use Your Own Stories to Communicate with Power and Impact

"...a worthwhile guide[...]storytelling is touted as a secret to effective leadership yet most of us are uncertain where to start." -The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading (A Touchstone book)

Jacques Barzun These four hundred pages are packed full of high matters which no one solicitous of the future of American culture can afford to over-look.The New Yorker It shows concretely how the serious work of proper reading may be accomplished and how much it may yield in the way of instruction and delight.

365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life

John Kralik was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and attended the University of Michigan for college and law school. He practiced law for 30 years, and was a partner in the law firms of Hughes Hubbard & Reed, Miller Tokuyama Kralik & Sur and Kralik & Jacobs.

Writing That Works; How to Communicate Effectively In Business

Clear, concise communications that make the right point will launch your career or business to new heights. -- Robert Seelert, Chairman, Saatchi & Saatchi PLCIn advertising, the challenge is to find the one simple, inspired thought... This book helps all of us...

Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses

by Mark Twain "The Pathfinder" and "The Deerslayer" stand at the head of Cooper's novels as artistic creations. There are others of his works which contain parts as perfect as are to be found in these, and scenes even more thrilling. Not one can be compared with either of them as a finished whole.

To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction

This book from Phillip Lopate is one of my favorite writer's books. This is focused on the personal essay - which geez, maybe that's what blog posts tend to be.

If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit

For most, the hardest part of writing is overcoming the mountain of self-denial that weighs upon the spirit, always threatening to extinguish those first small embers of ambition. Brenda Ueland, a writer and teacher, devotes most of her book--published back in 1938, before everyone and their goldfish got their MFA's in creative writing--to these matters of the writer's heart.