Do you want to become a better writer? You’re looking for better tools to improve your writing, but with an abundance of books on writing, where do you start? Let me help with my Top 5 books on writing. You may not be a Stephen King fan, but my number one pick is Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.
There’s lots of good books for writers, but here’s how I respond to a question I’m asked all the time…
I’m frequently asked, “What are the best books on writing?” Whether you want to write children’s books, comic books, novels, essays, mysteries, cook books, inspirational Christian books, self-help books, fiction or non-fiction, it is well worth your time and energy to invest fifty or so bucks for the best writing books. There are many wonderful choices, but reading too many writing books can distract you from the writing life! Good writers read a lot and creative writers are always seeking new ways to improve their writing.
So, if I was stuck on a deserted island and I could only bring five books on writing, here are my top 5 choices that have challenged and helped me in the craft of writing. Filled with practical ideas and laced with interesting stories, these books will inspire you to improve your craft today. These top five books on writing are in order of preference and the sheer pleasure of reading.
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Filled with hilarious stories and practical advice, this book is a great read even if you’re not a writer! You’ll be amazed by King’s discipline (10 pages a day, every day, for years!). He’s also a voracious reader!
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne LaMott
Zany and neurotic, Anne LaMott is also grace-filled and compassionate to the many writers she has taught over the years. This book is filled with practical wisdom for the writer’s life.
- Writing for Emotional Impact by Karl Iglesias
Mainly written for screenwriters, this book by Karl Iglesias has dramatically pushed me as a writer. Especially his “one-page” test. People read books and go to movies to feel! Does every page move the reader to laugh, cry, weep, cringe, scream or sympathize with the main character? Is every page moving the story or reader forward? If not, I suggest you pick up Writing for Emotional Impact. You’ll find Iglesias’ ideas helpful for many kinds of writing.
- On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser
Simply one of the best books on writing. Period. This books covers many essential writing topics on the principles, forms and methods of writing well. Zinsser is a giant.
- The Elements of Style: 50th Anniversary Edition by Strunk & White
Remember Charlotte’s Web? If you’ve never read The Elements of Style, you’re missing a barn full of practical ideas on understanding English grammar and core writing skills. Written by E.B. White and his professor (Strunk), this simple, elegant book is a quick read. A must for every writer’s library.
What are your favorite books on writing? My list is not exhaustive and I’m always looking for new writing books to improve my craft? I’d love to hear your ideas!
You can purchase My Top 5 Books on Writing in the Art, Life & Faith Store.