The problem with books on writing is that they can be written by anybody. Amazon is simply loaded with thousands of books that promise to teach people how to write faster, better, more efficiently, more concisely, and so forth. Yet, most of the books you read on this subject are just terrible because they are full of common sense advice or useless advice that would only apply to complete novices. Where are the good books? Where are the inspirational books that offer true Eureka moments? In this article, you will find a short description of ten books. If you are looking to improve your writing skills, then these books are a good place to start.
1 – The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition 4th Edition
By William Strunk Jr. (Author), E. B. White (Author), Roger Angell (Foreword)
Elements of Style is a very famous book that has been updated over the years. It still has value today as it teaches people how to write clear and correct English. In an age where Amazon is full of fluffy e-books that hold little value, people need to go back to basics and read Elements Of Style to help them become more concise and learn how to cut away the white noise that they are passing off as written English. This is an old book, but it has been updated to account for changes in the way we communicate.
2 – On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction Paperback
By William Zinsser (Author)
If you are looking for a simple and plain-speaking instruction manual that has a high degree of clarity, then “On Writing Well” may be the book for you. The book does generalize egregiously, but there are many parts of the book where you may take from it personally and apply it to your choice of writing subject, genre and style. Learn the value of simplicity and brevity because such notions will help to keep your writing fresher and less dull. This book may help stop you creating something that is a slog to read, that is fluffy, or that is difficult to read.
3 – 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 (Author)
When a single person is tasked with editing a great number of works from a great number of writers, one assumes such a person will pick up certain secrets, tips and techniques. This book covers some of the things that Stein learned during his career. “Stein On Writing” doesn’t offer a lot of theory: it is more about solutions and ideas. It is as if the writer has accumulated years’ worth of tools, techniques and tricks, and has tried to present them in this book.
4 – The Sense of Style – The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century
By Steven Pinker (Author)
The writer applied cognitive science to the practice of writing in “The Sense of Style.” It is an interesting book that shows you where others have followed all the rules and yet have gotten it so very wrong. It may not strike a chord with you personally, but it is certainly enlightening and is a fairly original take on how to teach people the art of writing. It doesn’t disregard the idea that some people are simply bad writers, but it does examine reasons why people are somehow able to get it so right and so wrong at the same time.
5 – On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft
By Stephen King (Author)
You may not think much of his books, and you may even think his writing it a bunch of hyped up nonsense. One could even go so far as to say that his successful books were less about talent and more about the law of averages since he has produced so many books. Yet, Stephen King has been a writer for years, and he has been a prolific writer for years, so it stands to reason that he would and does have some solid advice to give. It may benefit full-time writers in the same way that it did with the NSW writers team because full-time writers usually “have” to be prolific writers like King in order to get the job done. The book is also semi-autobiographical, which means fans of King will also get a kick out of it.
6 – Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
By Lynne Truss (Author)
This book is a classic. It explains punctuation in its least boring form. Let’s face it, learning about grammar is very boring, and almost every textbook or video you watch/read on the subject is boring too. “Eats, Shoots & Leaves” is currently the most entertaining and funny book in the area of teaching people about grammar and punctuation; though one has to admit that the pool of competition in this area is fairly shallow. It is not a textbook that is going to teach you all you need to know to get you through your English exam papers, but it will teach you some of society’s most common mistakes and it explains why they are so very wrong.
7 – Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer 1st Edition
by Roy Peter Clark (Author)
A writer with years of experience tried to whittle down what he has learned into a number of lessons. He was partially successful because he did manage to whittle them down to 55 strategies, but he could never find his unifying theory. Obviously, as a truly experienced person, the author had a big task ahead of him because he had so much knowledge to impart. His book features over 200 examples, and it includes things such as useful habits, blueprints for stories, and so forth.
8 – The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity
by Julia Cameron (Author)
The writer believes that creative expression is a natural direction in which life should flow. This book aims to help you become more creative while also limiting some of your more damaging habits and actions, such as addictions and self-sabotage. For most people, the book will not live up to its promises, but its suggestions do make good thinking exercises for creative people.
9 – The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
By Steven Pressfield (Author)
The aim of this book is to help you become a better writer by teaching you a variety of life lessons. How well you take on the lessons is up to you, and some people will find this book completely useless. Others may pick up on a point or two and feel a distinct Eureka moment. Some tips in the book require a high degree of willpower and tenacity. This book doesn’t give you the key to unlocking your success, and it doesn’t give you a way to smash your internal resistances. It gives you a number of ideas and suggestions that may lead you towards the answers you seek through personal introspection.
10 – Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words
By Susan G. Wooldridge (Author)
The aim of “PoemCrazy” is to help people start writing poems who otherwise feel a little helpless when tasked with poem writing. Her method is simple, she suggests that you use a series of prompting methods for getting your pen moving. After you have written a chunk of text, it is then suggested that you go back and cut out the bad bits to leave only the good bits behind.
Amelia White. With years of experience in the field of self-publishing, she enjoys a solid and successful career. Apart from practicing the profession, White also enjoys writing about productivity and motivation.