7 Great Books About Writing

A great way to improve your writing is to read about writing. This post features books about writing.

I curated this list with titles that I have enjoyed and with recommendations from other writers.


Books About Writing

[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="0060777052" locale="us" height="225" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51r8DixLpiL._SL160_.jpg" width="171"] Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose

In [simpleazon-link asin="0060777052" locale="us"]Reading Like a Writer[/simpleazon-link], Francine Prose inspires writers to write better by teaching them how to read like a writer.

Writers should read slowly and pay attention to words and their meaning. 

Prose presents techniques that writers can use to hone their craft, which she illustrates by guiding readers through passages by Austen, Flaubert, Fitzgerald, Flaubert, and Chekov.

 I am in the 3rd chapter of this book and I have thus far found it both helpful and enjoyable.


[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="1439156816" locale="us" height="225" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41cqe00ZzsL._SL160_.jpg" width="171"] On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

[simpleazon-link asin="1439156816" locale="us"]On Writing[/simpleazon-link] is Stephen King's revealing and practical guide for writers.

The book has 2 parts.

Part One is a memoir. King shares how he got his start as a writer and describes his early struggles to get published.

Part Two contains details about King's “writer’s tool box,” the skills and techniques writers need to construct well-crafted and well-written narratives.

I loved this book. I enjoyed learning about King’s early life and how he struggled to make it as a writer. I found the second part of the book helpful. King provides a great discussion about how he approaches writing and what tricks he finds most useful.


[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="1451696329" locale="us" height="225" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41yWiaqqqfL._SL160_.jpg" width="171"]To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction by Philip Lopate

Acclaimed personal essayist Philip Lopate combines more than 40 years of lessons learned while teaching and writing in [simpleazon-link asin="1451696329" locale="us"]To Show and to Tell[/simpleazon-link].

To Show and to Tell is a “nuts-and-bolts” guide to literary nonfiction.

I have not read this book, but I purchased it last year when I saw it at the Strand Bookstore.


[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="0385499191" locale="us" height="225" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4184Q9CD6KL._SL160_.jpg" width="171"]Beyond the Writers’ Workshop: New Ways to Write Creative Nonfiction by Carol Bly

Carol Bly believes that writers often modify their most passionate work because writers’ workshops tend to exaggerate the importance of technical details.

In [simpleazon-link asin="0385499191" locale="us"]Beyond the Writers' Workshop[/simpleazon-link], Bly combines ideas from social work, psychotherapy, and neuroscience with traditional methods for how to use metaphor, write dialogue, and pace. She includes exercises and examples in her appendix.

My writing buddy Liana M. Silva-Ford recommended this book. Liana acknowledged that it is a textbook, but stated that she has found it immensely helpful and often returns to it for advice.


[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="0385480016" locale="us" height="225" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41yP7zqWI8L._SL160_.jpg" width="171"]Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

[simpleazon-link asin="0385480016" locale="us"]Bird by Bird[/simpleazon-link] is Anne Lamott’s miscellany of guidance for writers.

Lamott offers advice such as “start small,”or to take your writing “bird by bird.” Lamott also advises those who write fiction to worry more about their characters than their plot line.

I have not read this book, but so many people have recommended it that I have purchased a copy.


[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="1877741019" locale="us" height="225" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51eKKdVyW4L._SL160_.jpg" width="171"]Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity by Ray Bradbury

In [simpleazon-link asin="1877741019" locale="us"]Zen In The Art Of Writing[/simpleazon-link], Ray Bradbury energizes writers by sharing his wisdom, experience, and excitement for writing.

Bradbury offers practical tips for how writers can develop their ideas, voice, and writing style. Bradbury also councils writers to follow their passions and instincts.

Reviews of the book have proclaimed it “a celebration of the act of writing.”


[simpleazon-image align="right" asin="193290736X" locale="us" height="225" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51473OvY5zL._SL160_.jpg" width="171"]The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Chris Volger

Chris Volger explores the relationship between mythology and storytelling in [simpleazon-link asin="193290736X" locale="us"]The Writers Journey[/simpleazon-link], an international bestseller.

Volger provides analysis and observations about how mythology influences the way humans tell stories.


Share Your Story!

What is your favorite book about writing?