As an aspiring writer myself, I know that no other activity feels like time spent well than reading a book about writing, especially if it's a book by a writer you admire. These books are a great way to get inspired to write and also the closest things to study guides on our craft. Whether you are a plotter, a pantser, or something in between, you can find a book that will click with you.
1. "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft" by Stephen King
This author needs no introduction, but I do want to warn that this is not his usual genre. The first few parts of this book are about Stephen's childhood and how he came about being a writer, and only in the second half does he venture to give advice. His memoir is comical and frank and goes straight to the heart.
2. "Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life" by Anne Lamott
A fun and honest account of what it means to be a writer.
3. "Unless It Moves the Human Heart" by Roger Rosenblatt
From the author of "Making Toast", the book depicts some of the most fascinating discussions Rosenblatt has had in his writing class. And if you do enjoy this one, make sure to check out his new book on writing, "The Story I am: Mad About the Writing Life", that came out this April.
4. "Ernest Hemingway on Writing" by Ernest Hemingway
This book is a compilation of quotes from novels, stories, letters, interviews, and commissioned articles where Hemingway talks about writing. The editor, Larry W. Phillips, has also compiled "F. Scott Fitzgerald on Writing".
5. "Letters to A Young Writer: Some Practical and Philosophical Advice" by Colum McCann
Don't let the title mislead you, by "young writer" McCann simply means a beginner. As with most other writing books on this list, the advice is helpful and the writing is divine.
6. "Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need" by Blake Snyder
I believe the title sums it up perfectly. There is also an adaptation of this screenwriting methodology to the process of novel writing in Jessica Brody's book, "Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book On Novel Writing You'll Ever Need".
7. "Zen in the Art of Writing" by Ray Bradbury
A collection of essays that tell of love for writing from someone who has mastered it.
8. "Draft No.4" by John McPhee
If someone can write a whole book about oranges and make it interesting, I think we can trust his advice on writing. This book will teach you how to write nonfiction from drafting to revision.
9. "The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles" by Steven Pressfield
Made me close the book and open my laptop. Truly powerful and inspiring.
10. "Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel" by Lisa Cron
Tried pantsing and plotting, but you still can't finish your first draft? This book might give you a new perspective.
- In 2019, I Read The Book. In 2020, I'm Writing The Book. ›
- My Honest Guide For Writing A Fantasy Novel ›
- Authors' Advice For Their 20-Year-Old Selves, And All Young Writers ›
- Writing My First Novel ›
- How To Write a Bestseller (Book) ›