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What’s Your Favorite Book About Writing?

books for writersGot lots of comments on my list of 5 Must Have Books For Writers. Turns out I also posted 7 Must-Have Books For Writers. And yes, there’s a whole lot of duplication.

Which got me to thinking about why I consider some books must-haves. It boils down to books that do one of two things:

  • Inspire me to write or inspire my writing. This actually can be a pretty broad definition which is why I’ve got Lynn Twist’s Soul of Money on one list even though it doesn’t have a single thing to do with writing. Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird has everything to do with writing.
  • Show me how to make my writing life easier. These books may teach me something about business, or marketing or the writing process. Peter Bowerman’s books fall into that category, particularly these days his Well-Fed Self Publisher.

Now it’s your turn. What’s your favorite book about writing and why? What inspires you? What helps you? Put it all in comments and let’s see if we get enough for a post.

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{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Ooh good post.

    I only started it and put it away for a time when I am working more on my own stuff, but I love Jill Dearman’s Bang the Keys. Wonderful voice, great advice & inspiration, and a memorable title!

  • I haven’t read a lot of writing books – that said, I loved On Writing. I used to be really into Stephen King but I read one too many of his books and decided they were really pretty sick. But I have new respect for the man after reading that.

    I really like Andy Maslen’s books about copywriting as well – Write to Sell was what really showed me that I’m capable of more than I thought, and for that, I salute him. And no copywriter should ever be without a copy of Words that Sell, by Richard Bayan: it’s like a cheat sheet 😉
    Lucy Smith recently posted..Networking and vintage clothes shopping- I like ‘em bothMy Profile

  • Well you named all of mine already! Anything Peter Bowerman writes is like a little pot of gold at the end of the freelancing rainbow (or rather, at the beginning of it, where it’s useful!).

    I can’t live without Strunk and White’s .

    Love also any college handbook on grammar and style.

    And for fun, I think you can’t get better than Grammar Snobs are Great Big Meanies by June Casagrande.
    Lori recently posted..Turning Over RocksMy Profile

  • Bob Bly’s Secrets of a Freelance Writer
    Lamott’s Bird by Bird
    King’s On Writing
    The Elements of Style
    The Art and Craft of Writing Poetry
    Think and Grow Rich
    Fiction Writer’s Workshop
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  • I love this question!

    Bird by Bird is a given. I read it for a college writing class and have kept my copy next to my desk ever since.

    Stephen King’s On Writing offers some great practical advice, and it’s Stephen King so it’s fun because it’s full of his personality.

    The War of Art by Steven Pressfield is my new favorite. It really inspires me to think of my writing from a new perspective, and gets my butt in the chair.
    Christy Smith recently posted..Say Hello- Its a Contest!My Profile

  • My favorite books on writing are:

    Bird by Bird: it’s a classic for a reason. Anne’s voice is so perfect, it’s like she’s sitting across from me on the couch, pushing me to live my dream.

    Secrets of a Freelance Writer: Bob Bly’s book (back when it was subtitled with $85,000) was my first introduction to the idea of freelance commercial writing as a viable business. I’d never considered it before then.

    The Well-Fed Writer: Peter Bowerman built on Bly’s foundation in my mind with even more practical guidelines that I’ve found soooo useful.

    On Writing: Stephen King’s memoir/writing manifesto absolutely blew me away. I’ve always considered King a “guilty pleasure” of mine because I fell into the critics’ opinions that his genre couldn’t allow for high-quality writing. But the fact is, he’s an incredible writer. And in On Writing, he turns the power loose in a remarkable way.

  • Carole Maso is an amazing writer. Every time I read her I want to write immediately. Consequently, it takes me forever to get through her novels. She wrote a book on writing called Break Every Rule that is just as inspiring.

  • My favourite is the first I ever read on the subject: Solutions for Writers, by Sol Stein. His How to Grow a Novel is also a very informative and practical book, although I still don’t even have the seeds of my first novel.

  • Gotta say I haven’t read many books about writing…but I loved Bird by Bird.
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  • Wendy S. Johnson

    I read a lot of writing books if I want to learn something, but if I want to inspire myself, I use one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s books or others like them. I like to be inspired from the inside out, if that makes sense.

  • My favourite is Pierre Berton’s The Joy of Writing. It was the first book on writing I read that really talked about the business side of it.

    I wrote a a post about this a few months ago. Writing manuals are so often deplored – and probably rightfully so – but there are a few decent books out there worth reading.

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