This guest post on a handful of classic books on writing will undoubtedly jog your memory of the many books on writing you have happened upon over the years. I amassed quite a collection in my graduate school days, and when I make a trade at the used book store, I almost inevitably come away with a handful of writing-related books. One of my all-time favorites has been Adios Strunk and White for its out-of-the-box approach to writing exercises. Nicola Reynor has also provided great links within this post if you have the time to check them out.
Official Bio: Nicola Reynor is a passionate blogger who loves to write about fashion, beauty, travel, health, fitness, wedding, and lifestyle trends. When in leisure time, she prefers to spend time traveling with friends and family.
Classic Books on Writing
by Nicola Reynor
If you’re an aspiring writer, then you already know that the best ways of improving your writing is by writing more often and reading what others have written. These habits are proven to enhance your writing skills and accentuate your understanding of the intricacies involved in writing compelling, absorbing, and page-turning content.
As a novice, I’m always on the lookout for books that can transform me into a better writer. I secretly look for books that help increase my self-confidence and restore the faith that I’m refining my skills, and remove the silent self-doubt that I’m still not good enough. With every good book, my confidence receives a boost, but so does the thirst to improve and get better at what I do.
Books have that uncanny power of transporting readers from present reality into a life that is beyond ordinary. To write a book that speaks to the reader’s heart and creates an impact requires mastering the craft of writing through incessant reading, and upgrading yourself from the current stage of knowledge and creativity. It’s a never-ending journey.
Here are four classic books on writing that you should read to improve your hold on your craft and become a better writer.
1. On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser
First published in the year 1976, ‘On Writing Well’ has since been regarded as one of the best books for aspiring writers. The book has been praised the world over for its sound advice on the craft of writing, especially in the nonfiction genre. Whether it is writing on sports or travel, or even penning a memoir, the book offers great insights with several examples on how to remove clutter and make your writing crisp and impactful. The book beautifully defies the myth that writing is a gift more than a skill. For me, it is one of the best self-improvement books on writing in the nonfiction category. (View on Amazon)
2. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
The mega-selling author, Stephen King needs no introduction. He has authored some of the best horror fictions ever written (my favorites- ‘IT’ and ‘The Stand’), and one of his all-time bestsellers is his book on the craft of writing, ‘On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.’ Even after a decade of its first published edition, the book is considered to be the most pragmatic guide to writing fiction. With moving accounts of wild stories from his childhood that inspired him to become a writer, King teaches a crucial aspect of the art of writing in his book: story elements are all around you, you just have to see them. Read the book for a fresh take on gathering writing inspiration and story imagination. (View on Amazon)
3. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield, edited by Shawn Coyne
“The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.” ― Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
This quote almost sums up the entire book, ‘The War of Art.’ Resistance is one of the biggest enemies of a writer and this book elaborately tells you how to fight it and shut your defeatist inner voice. It is a straightforward book that allows you to come face-to-face with your shortcomings and boosts your potential to become a better writer by persistently following your passion. The book has helped me on various occasions when I needed motivation to overcome the writer’s block and get back to weaving my thoughts into words. (View on Amazon)
4. Stein on Writing: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers of Our Century Shares His Craft Techniques and Strategies by Sol Stein
Offering a bouquet of savvy advice, ‘Stein on Writing’ gets straight to examples, tips, and shortcuts about writing. From critically analyzing the first sentences to understanding the depth that goes into the creation of characters, plotting, and storytelling, Sol Stein aims at making every writer a great self-editor. It is widely accepted as a book of usable solutions that explains how to fix writing flaws, improve writing skills, and deploy useful fiction and non-fiction writing techniques to make the draft more fascinating. (View on Amazon)
The above-mentioned classic books on the art of writing constantly remind us that becoming an accomplished writer is not just about learning syntax and grammar, nor is it only about practice. It is about learning the art of well-rounded communication that is required to make an impact on the hearts and minds of readers.
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What classic books on writing would you add to this list?
Image credit: Book and Glasses. Please share responsibly. Jeri Walker, 2017.