9 Books On Writing That Will Help You Conquer The Toughest Cases Of Writer's Block
Ask any successful author for advice, and they will all tell you the same thing: to be a great writer, you have to be an avid reader. While its important to stack your TBR pile with the world's greatest works of prose and poetry, it's also essential to include books about the craft itself if you want to improve your writing. From style and grammar guidebooks to insightful essays from the world's best writers, these reads will help you work through even the toughest case of writer's block.
Despite what some people say, being a writer isn't easy. Whether you're trying to pen the next great American novel, publish a viral blog post, or finish a personal essay, writing is an exciting challenge that can only be met with talent, determination, and lots of practice.
Of course, help from the experts doesn't hurt, either.
Books about the art and craft of writing are important resources for every kind of writer, from the struggling high schooler trying to complete their college essay to the seasoned novelist attempting to complete their latest masterpiece. They're treasure troves of not only technical advice, but writing inspiration, and they are there just waiting to be read, studied, and put to good use. No classroom, no professor, no writing workshop required.
Ready to become the novelist, essayist, or poet you've always dreamed of being? Then check out these nine essential books on the craft that can help you bring out the very best your imagination has to offer.
'Wired for a Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence' by Lisa Con
If you want to know how to write a tantalizing story, there's no one better to ask than a expert like Lisa Con. An author and publishing professional who has worked as an agent, instructor, story consultant, and television producer, Con knows that what makes a story really hook readers is all about brain science. In Wired for a Story, she takes a psychological approach to good writing and explores the many ways neuroscience affects the way we perceive stories. A truly fascinating read, it will give you a whole new perspective on what makes good writing "good."
'Bird by Bird: Some Instructions of Writing and Life' by Anne Lamott
Have an idea for a book, but don't know where to start? Let acclaimed author Anne Lamott draw it out of you with the help of her personal instructions for writing and life, Bird by Bird. A beautiful and literary guide on everything from getting a book started and working through revisions to seeking publication and forming a writing support group, this handy book can get you from the first sentence all the way through your first book party and beyond. Smart and delightful, reading Bird by Bird feels like having a kind, wise writing coach in your corner.
'You, Too, Could Write a Poem' by David Orr
A collection of reviews and essays from celebrated critic and New York Times poetry columnist David Orr, You, Too, Could Write a Poem explores the ins and outs of the beautiful world of poetry. Though it is not a writing guide, this insightful collection helps shed a light on what poetry is, how it is crafted, both well and poorly, and how it is experienced. An accessible read that celebrates a beloved artform, You, Too, Could Write a Poem will make you feel exactly that.
'Let Me Tell You' by Shirley Jackson
Much of this book is actually short stories penned by the infamous horror writer, but there's also quite a few essays on Shirley Jackson's, um, quirky writing tips – including her haphazard process of jotting down inspiration and her tendency to create crazy stories in the process of completing mundane household tasks. Her magnificent writing advice will certainly appeal to those writers who have a tendency to daydream.
'Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear' by Elizabeth Gilbert
From the brilliant mind of Eat, Pray, Love comes a bold and empowering guide to finding bliss in creativity. Big Magic dives deep into Gilbert's own creative processes and explores the many ways we all find inspiration, uncover personal truths, and work through conflict using our art. Though not strictly about writing, Big Magic is an enlightening and soulful read that will help every aspiring author unlock their true creative spirits and find happiness in all they create.
"I'll Give You My Body..." How Write Sex Scenes ' by Diana Gabaldon
Whether it's only for a line in a poem, a moment in a short story, or a long passage in a novel, writing sex scenes is one of the most difficult challenges a writer faces. Luckily for you, some experts are willing to share their secrets. In her recent guide "I'll Give You My Body...", bestselling author Diana Gabaldon shares her secrets to crafting beautiful, passionate, and powerful sex scenes that don't make readers want to literally LOL. From tips on how to use the senses to a breakdown of the different kind of sex scenes and how to use them in writing, Gabaldon's handbook is will help turn all of your cringeworthy sex scenes into passionate encounters.
'The Way of the Writer: Reflections on the Art and Craft of Storytelling' by Charles Johnson
Want to be a better writer? Take advice from National Book Award winner and Professor Emeritus at University of Washington Charles Johnson. In The Way of the Writer, the celebrated author and leading scholar chronicles his over 30 years immersed in the craft and creative process of writing. Including sections on the process of writing itself, the resources available to writers, and the philosophy of writing, The Way of a Writer has everything an aspiring bestselling author needs to start their journey towards success.
'Where The Past Begins' by Amy Tan
You may know her bestselling novels The Joy Luck Club and The Valley of Amazement, but do you know how Amy Tan wrote her remarkable books? In Where The Past Begins, out in October 2017, the celebrated author chronicles her life as a writer, the experiences that inspired her storytelling, and the choices she made that lead her to the path she is on today.
'Let It Bleed: How to Write a Rockin' Memoir' by Pamela Des Barres
From the bestselling author of I'm with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie comes a funny, touching, and inspiring guide for women on how to write a fascinating memoir — or, as the author calls them, "femoirs." In Let It Bleed, Des Barres walks readers through the entire memoir writing process using everything from writing prompts to memory exercises to help aspiring authors uncover the events, thoughts, and emotions of their past. Including personal stories from her own life and the lives of the women who she has taught before, Let It Bleed is a fantastic and unique addition to the writing resource library.