If you’re a writer and you don’t read, you have no business being a writer. Reading is a fundamental part of being a writer because it is by reading books that a writer learns how to write. You can learn how to structure a sentence or create vivid characters of quality by reading great books and then emulating them.
Below are a few books on the writing craft that I believe every writer—of any genre—should have at his or her disposal.
- Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg.
This book provides great advice on the craft of writing and how to improve your writing process. If you’re seeking inspiration and motivation to write, this is the book for you.The way in which Goldberg describes the writing life will make any writer say, “Oh, yes, I know exactly what she’s talking about!”
2. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King.
I enjoy On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft because King gives writing advice in narrative form. King smoothly intertwines accounts of his personal life with writing advice and inspiration. It’s a quick read because it’s not dry like other writing advice books can often be.
3. On Writing Well: A Guide to Nonfiction Writing by William Zinsser.
This book is a must-have for nonfiction writers. The book consists of chapters on different forms of nonfiction writing such as travel writing, memoir writing, journalism, and general nonfiction writing. It also includes some discussion on language usage, grammar, and punctuation. You can use this book as a reference handbook by referring to the section you need when working on a writing project.You can also read the book from beginning to end and take notes while reading. I did the latter.
4. The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White
Few writers will leave this book out when recommending exceptional books on writing. I always keep this small reference book on grammar, language usage, and style by my side when writing. It is ideal for any student, nonfiction, and fiction writer. What I most like about this book is that it is small, short, and is organized by subsections so if, for example, I am uncertain about when to use commas, I can look at the table of contents and find the exact page number that I need.
What books would you recommend? Let me know in the comments below!