When we recommended a few great books for every writer’s bookshelf, readers responded with a few fantastic suggestions of their own.
Below we delve into Round Two of our essential books for writers, highlighting some reader-inspired suggestions to add to your list.
1. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
The full title of this book is Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. It examines the craft of writing including how to start brainstorming, the importance of learning how to listen, the vital role verbs play in writing, and even how to find an inspiring place to write.
With chapter titles like “Fighting Tofu” and “Writing is Not a McDonald’s Hamburger,” you can be sure there will be witty observations throughout. Commenter Liz Adamshick says this favorite book provides “courage and liberation in the writing process.”
2. Art & Fear: Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles & Ted Orlando
This book reflects on the artistic side of being a writer. Making art is no easy feat, and Bayles and Orlando — both artists themselves — explore the challenges of making art and the arious obstacles that can discourage people along the way.
Originally published in 1994, Art & Fear is now an underground classic, dishing out relatable, valuable advice.
3. Word Work: Surviving and Thriving as a Writer by Bruce Holland Rogers
Word Work is packed with practical advice for overcoming procrastination, finding happiness in writing, and even conquering writer’s block via useful exercises. It also covers how to handle rejection and success.
Commenter Rachel Nichols wrote, “It contains a lot of practical advice for writers that other sources usually don’t even touch on. Why it might be good to quit your day job sometimes, writing with a short attention span, overcoming writer’s block even if it doesn’t exist, and getting along with a non-writing spouse.”
4. Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell
Aimed at fiction writers, this book tackles everything from models to help with story structure to a variety of techniques to help with crafting great stories from start to finish. You’ll even find tips on creating plotting diagrams. and tools to overcome various plot problems that can arise.
Commenter Pat Bowden found Plot & Structure so useful that, “I borrowed it from my local library twice before deciding to buy my own copy.”
5. A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld
This book focuses on how to be a happy and successful writer throughout your career. It covers everything from finding joy as a writer to avoiding burnout and the all-important challenge of balancing writing with a busy life.
It also discusses how to fine-tune your craft, get in touch with your creative flow, revise your work, find critiques, and learn how to be resilient. “It has great advice for how to create a writing career that lasts for the long haul,” commenter Leanne Sowul noted.
6. The Paris Review Interviews
The Paris Review offers in-depth interviews with some of the leading names in the literature world, from novelists to playwrights and poets.
This series of books features a collection of interviews with past and present writing superstars including Ernest Hemingway, T.S. Eliot, Kurt Vonnegut, Joan Didion, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Stephen King, and Salman Rushdie, among many other famous names.
7. Everybody Writes by Ann Handley
This content-creation book, Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, drives home the point that anyone with a web site or social media channels is a writer.
It focuses on how to craft quality writing that boosts business and helps find and retain customers, including writing tips, content help, grammar rules, and more.
8. The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century by Steven Pinker
Steven Pinker offers a new take on some of the classic writing manuals. Inside The Sense of Style, he analyzes examples modern prose, pointing out fantastic writing and offering tips to spruce up lackluster work.
9. Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451, put together this book of essays portraying his passion for the craft.
Commenter Elizabeth Sancho noted the timeless appeal of the subject matter, saying, “This book I go back to time and again and am more inspired each time. I even use lots of the ideas for teaching my fourth grade class.”
10. The Lonely Voice: A Study of the Short Story by Frank O’Connor
World-renowned Irish author Frank O’Connor takes on the short story in this favorite book on writing.
Short stories are challenging, but O’Connor shares tips and tactics for mastering the art of the short story that can help any writer begin to feel more confident about crafting their own works.
Which of these titles will you pick up next?
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