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Updated by George Rodriguez on Dec 18, 2013
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Best Books to Inspire/Instruct Your Writing

For all those writers out there looking for inspiration and/or instruction here are the best books I've come across.

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.

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.

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 Elements of Style, Fourth 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"

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."

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: Illustrated Ed.: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation: Lynne Truss, Pat Byrnes: Amazon.c...

Who would have thought a book about punctuation could cause such a sensation? Certainly not its modest if indignant author, who began her surprise hit motivated by "horror" and "despair" at the current state of British usage: ungrammatical signs ("BOB,S PETS"), headlines ("DEAD SONS PHOTOS MAY BE RELEASED") and band names ("Hear'Say") drove journalist and novelist Truss absolutely batty.

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

"Brilliant and real and true."-Rosanne Cash"Austin Kleon is positively one of the most interesting people on the Internet... Kleon makes an articulate and compelling case for combinatorial creativity and the role of remix in the idea economy."-The Atlantic"Breezy and fun and yes, scary.

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.

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life: Twyla Tharp, Mark Reiter: 9780743235273: Amazon.com: Books

Perhaps the leading choreographer of her generation, Tharp offers a thesis on creativity that is more complex than its self-help title suggests. To be sure, an array of prescriptions and exercises should do much to help those who feel some pent-up inventiveness to find a system for turning idea into product, whether that be a story, a painting or a song.

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, 2nd Edition: Natalie Goldberg: 9781590302613: Amazon.com: Books

"I'm convinced that none of the writers of my acquaintance can go another day without a copy of Natalie Goldberg's magical manual Writing Down the Bones."-Linda Weltner, The Boston Globe "The secret of creativity, Natalie Goldberg makes clear, is to subtract rules for writing, not add them.

Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer

Covering the writing waterfront-from basics on verb tense to the value of forming a "support group"-Poynter Institute vice president Clark offers tips, tricks and techniques for anyone putting fingers to keyboard. The best assets in Clark's book are in the "workshop" sections that conclude each chapter and list strategies for incorporating the material covered in each lesson (minimize adverbs, use active verbs, read your work aloud).