10 Books Every Writer Should Read

Old Books

We’ve all been there: staring at the words we’ve just written, disgusted by how little progress has been made. Writing is a solitary pursuit and it’s easy to get discouraged. But fear not! Whether you’re looking for inspiration, trying to learn more about the industry, or just hoping to absorb the knowledge and success of experienced writers, there’s a book out there for you. We’ve dug through our libraries and come up with 10 books every writer should read to get back on track.

For Overcoming Writer’s Block

  • The 3 A.M. Epiphany, Brian Kiteley: Filled with more than 200 prompts and exercises, it’s sure to get your brain moving again.
  • The Art of War for Writers, James Scott Bell: Helpfully divided between research strategies, craft tips, and the publication process, a great book for getting motivated.
  • Good Prose, Tracy Kidder & Richard Todd: An essential read for nonfiction writers, the book explores essays, narratives, and memoirs.

For Tips on the Writing Business

  • The Forest for the Trees, Betsy Lerner: This editor-turned-agent shares humorous anecdotes about her experiences with writers and illuminates what can seem like an impenetrable industry.
  • Thinking Like Your EditorSusan Rabiner & Alfred Fortunato: If you’ve ever considered putting together a nonfiction proposal, this book will guide you along the path to a successful one.

For Everyday Encouragement

  • Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott: From craft tips to her advice on how to live a writer’s life (embrace new experiences, be curious, avoid perfectionism), Lamott’s humor and heart will stick with you on all your writing journeys.
  • On Writing, Stephen King: Part memoir of one man’s path to bestseller-dom, part exploration of craft, this book offers invaluable insights.
  • Zen in the Art of Writing, Ray Bradbury: If you’re a fan of Bradbury’s work, you’ll find plenty to love in his essays on craft and imagination.
  • The Getaway Car, Ann Patchett: This memoir is short and sweet, perfect for the days when you’ve got the writer’s blues.
  • Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg: Somewhere between meditation practice and writing guide, this book reminds you that to be a writer, you need to write – but that you should also allow yourself room for mistakes.

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