The Best Books On Writing Of All Time


It’s not a shocking statement when I say that good writers read all the time. You probably already know this.

Good writers rely on reading to improve their writing. Because in this reading process they learn how to:

  • Manipulate language to show their unique voice
  • Connect with their audience
  • Create a compelling narrative
  • Increase their vocabulary
  • Switch up sentence structure

Without reading, a writer’s creativity and inspiration shrivels up like a flower without water. (If you’re interested in learning more about how reading is necessary for quality writing, read this post.)

So how often are you reading? Once a month, week, or day?

If you’re like many writers, you feel guilty that you’re not reading as much as you could. I bet it’s hard to make time to when you have a day job with other responsibilities.

And what are you reading? When’s the last time you read a book on writing?

Not All Books Are Equal

The truth is that although you can gain takeaways from any book—whether it’s a masterpiece or trash—not all books will give you the same value for your writing.

For example, I have no problem with a non-fiction writer reading romantic fiction— especially if he or she is reading for entertainment, because that’s another story.

But for writers who are reading to improve their writing, only a special group of books will do that to the highest degree. What are these books?

Circling back to my question, “When’s the last time you read a book on writing?” if you guessed it, books about writing will give you more tools of the trade than any other. This isn’t rocket science.

What I love about these books is they take you into the mindset of effective writing and give you new perspectives to implement when you sit in front of your computer to type.

Knowing how and why the writing game is played will motivate you to try new writing techniques. These new techniques will only improve your readers experience and what they get out of your work.

Plus, reading these kinds of books and putting them into practice will give you confidence about your writing.

The 10 Best Books On Writing

With limited time to read, it’s crucial you spend your time learning from the best books on writing. So I compiled the list below to take your writing to the next level:

1. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

If you’re interested in the journey and lessons from the great Stephen King’s writing career, look no farther.

2. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

Lamott writes this book on writing in an engaging tone to encourage you past bad first drafts and roadblocks, so you continue to keep writing.

(Related: Bird by Bird book summary.)

3. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

If you’re struggling with writer’s block, Pressfield’s book has your name on it so you can plan smart, work hard, and accomplish your goals.

4. The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E. B. White

Get this classic about the rules of writing including usage, style, and grammar.

5. The Writing Life by Anne Dillard

Not meant to be a how-to book, the Pulitzer Prize-winner Dillard relates to writers and attempts to inspire them with her unique experiences.

6. On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser

Explained by the title, Zinsser explains core writing concepts like simplicity, concision, humor, and more to deliver information to the reader in the most helpful way.  

7. Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish by James Scott Bell

Discover the recipe to develop a successful plot like a professional and draw every reader into your story with this book.

8. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story by Donald Miller

Get ready to look at life differently after reading this true story about the author’s life and his journey for meaning.

9. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

Begin to free your creativity and get out of your own way through this program on self-improvement and writing.

10. The Chicago Manual of Style by University of Chicago Press Staff

When you have a question about grammar, word meaning, or sentence structure, keep The Chicago Manual of Style close by to find the accurate answer.

How often do you read books? What books did I miss on this list? Please comment below to continue this discussion.

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