So, you want to be a writer? Like any other art, writing is a lifestyle — a craft that takes years and years of practice to find your stride. Everyone has their own methods of improvement, but many people find inspiration and motivation in books about writing.
One of the best ways to learn how to become a writer is to read. A lot. Read books by authors you admire; read books for research; read books with a similar atmosphere or tone to what you hope to write. It's part of the craft, and you won't get far without reading widely. You'll want to read all sorts of genres: the classics, the modern best-sellers, and especially books on writing.
There are a handful of books that will benefit a new writer who needs help understanding their craft and honing their talent. It takes a lot of dedication, passion, and perseverance. There will be a lot of criticism (which isn't a bad thing), a lot of late night rewrites, a lot of fear. However, there will also be blissful moments of breakthrough. So if you're still on board to becoming a writer, check out these 10 books:
1. On Writing by Stephen King
Stephen King knows a thing or two about writing bestselling novels. In this book, he offers some seriously solid advice on how to make a career out of writing. He's up front and honest about the difficulties of writing and how important it is to set goals, laugh off the small stuff, and find a trustworthy person to read even your crappiest of work. This is an essential read for new writers, so get it ASAP.
2. Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
On top of reading Bradbury's short stories, every writer needs to also read this book. Bradbury's Zen In The Art Of Writing celebrates writing as something beautiful and exciting. If writing ever gets you down, pick up this book for a quick dose of inspiration.
3. Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich
If you want to master the art of multiple point-of-view, pick up Love Medicine. Writing about complex family issues is tricky — especially when done from multiple perspectives. But sometimes the best education is watching the masters at work, so read this book and treat each new chapter as a lesson.
4. Ernest Hemingway on Writing by Ernest Hemingway
Love him or hate him, Hemingway knew a thing or two about creating his own style and voice. You'll definitely learn some vital facts on the art of writing in this book, as well as important lessons on dealing with criticism. It also includes interviews with Hemingway and articles he wrote throughout his lifetime about the craft of writing.
5. The Complete Stories by Flannery O'Connor
Flannery O'Connor certainly knew how to set the tone of a novel, convey emotions through dialogue, and reveal characters layer upon layer. If you've ever struggled with those elements of writing, pick up this book.
6. Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine
This is a book that will help you hone your skills, especially if you want to write fantasy for children or young adults. Levine, the author of Ella Enchanted, offers her tips and tricks for creating memorable stories.
7. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert focuses on the drive to create art and the fear of failure in Big Magic. The primary lesson of this book: push through your fear and create something beautiful and meaningful.
8. The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
Annie Dillard what the writing life is really like in this brutally honest memoir. She won't tell you how to become a writer. She won't offer you any tips. But she will try to explain a writer's complicated relationship with their craft.