Here’s an insider tip from published writers that’s really not a secret: Reading is one of the best ways to improve your writing. And while it’s important to read works in your genre (and even in other genres), you should also read about the writing process itself from the viewpoint of successful writers. At Writer’s Relief, we know that benefiting from the insights of published writers is a great way to boost your own odds of getting published—after all, we’re writers too! Here’s a list of 9 great books on writing that every writer should read.
Books On Writing Every Writer Should Read
On Writing by Stephen King
This book tops most lists of books on writing—and for good reason! A hybrid memoir packed with King’s best writing advice, this book is a must-read classic for anyone who wants to improve their writing. Not only does it offer great writing advice, but it’s funny too—and fun to read!
The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
In this series of essays, Dillard meditates on what it means to be a writer—what it requires, what the writing life can look like, and why we do it. For a sneak peek into her thoughts, here’s a collection of some fantastic quotes from The Writing Life.
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Another book that frequently tops lists, Bird by Bird is a modern classic on writing. Lamott tackles basic questions about writing and being a writer, offering up useful advice while still managing to make you laugh.
The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr
Karr is credited with sparking the current memoir trend, thanks to her own bestsellers and her years spent teaching the form. In this book she breaks down her process, looking at what makes a really great literary memoir work. If you’re interested in writing a memoir, you’ll find The Art of Memoir insightful, informative, and entertaining.
The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White
A classic style manual that manages to make the basic principles of the English language more accessible and less boring than they might have been in another author’s hands. Filled with advice that’s as valuable today as when it was first offered, this book belongs on every writer’s shelf.
The Paris Review Interviews by The Paris Review
For decades, The Paris Review has published comprehensive interviews with leading writers. The deep dives into process, experience, and advice on the writing life are always intriguing to read—and you get a new perspective with each new interview. A fantastic opportunity to peer into the minds of several renowned authors and see how the gears are moving.
Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
If you need a bit of cheerleading to overcome your doubts or some help finding your creativity and motivation, check out Writing Down the Bones. Goldberg offers encouragement and solid advice for writers about how to get started and how to keep going. Check out some of her best lessons from the book.
The Writing Life: Writers on How They Think and Work ed. By Marie Arana
This indispensable guide to the craft is a collection of essays culled from years of the Washington Post column of the same name. With input from more than fifty writers, this book offers an extremely varied and interesting look into what it’s like to be a writer.
The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux
Addonizio and Laux, both well-known poets, come together here to offer brief essays on the nuts and bolts of poetry, as well as how to get started writing your own (with writing exercises included). Succinct and helpful, this book is perfect for anyone who wants to get started writing poetry.
The Strategic Poet by Diane Lockward
This handy guide to writing poetry is organized into thirteen sections, each one devoted to a specific poetic strategy. There are also writing prompts and model poems from 114 contributing contemporary poets to help readers become inspired to create their own poetry.
Question: Which of these books on writing have you read, or plan to read?