10 Essential Books for Writers

While I studied English Literature for years, I never dove into formal creative writing classes. I’ve read every genre under the sun. I’ve dabbled in writing stories, blog posts, and more, but never with any real structure or direction. In short, I have no idea what I’m doing.

Luckily, there are some experts out there that have a pretty good idea of what to do. I scoured the internet for recommendations on the best writing on writing. Below are the ten essential books for writers which I plan to read while I write my first book.

Note: But wait? There’s only 5 here, what gives? Well, I only selected 5 for now, so if you know of a book not listed, please suggest in the comments. Thanks! This post will be updated periodically, so bookmark and come back often.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

Bird on Bird Cover

This seems to be on every list I’ve come across. As it stands, this is on the top of my list, and already reserved it at the local library.

Stein on Writing: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers of Our Century Shares His Craft Techniques and Strategies by Sol Stein

Stein on Writing Cover

Another regularly suggested title. From what I gather, this book is extremely useful, as in there is less theory and more practical advice that can be applied immediately.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

On Writing Cover

You can’t deny the amazingness of King. Even if you are not necessarily into the genres he writes in, Stephen King has delighted fans for decades. He must be doing something right.

The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.

The Elements of Style Cover

I feel like I’ve picked this up for a high school or college class at some point. This title was published in 1920, and we’re still talking about it. There must be some gold in them there pages.

Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley

Everybody Writes Cover

Everybody Writes, published in 2014, is kind of the new kid on the block. I already read this and plan to read and re-read it many many more times. It’s fantastic, and inspiring.

Okay, readers – now it’s up to you – what books should I be reading? After I read each one, I’ll post a brief review and some main takeaways. If I feel I didn’t get any value from it, I may even remove it from the list!

Best of luck with your projects, and keep writing!

Resources with other candidates for this list:

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