The Best Writing Books

The Best Writing How-To Books  

1. The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century

Best for: All writers

Although Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style is a time-honoured classic, its prescriptive approach to language isn’t for everyone. Enter Harvard professor Steven Pinker with a more contemporary take. His witty approach recognizes that language is fluid and that, while it’s good to know and follow the rules when it makes sense to, expressive writing often relies on bending them. Writing newbs may find this book challenging, but it’s full of insight for those who already have a grasp on grammar and style and want to improve.

2. Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content 

Best for: Bloggers, content creators

Millions of new blog posts and other pieces of content hit the internet every single day. Ann Handley’s book is a must-have guide that shows content producers what it takes to stand out in a space where competition is fierce. With an accessible style, she takes on everything from how to write to grammar and usage to best practices. Perhaps my favorite part is Handley’s formula for creating content with a focus on empathizing with the reader and telling a great story. This isn’t just a how-to-write guide, it’ll also help you uncover what to write.

3. You Are a Reader! / You Are a Writer!

Best for: Bloggers, content creators, indie authors

Jeff Goins parlayed a love of writing into a successful career as an author, blogger, and speaker. If you have the drive to succeed as a writer, Goins provides the roadmap. You Are a Writer isn’t so much a book about the art of writing as it is about the business of getting your hard work noticed. If you aspire to build your platform and become a professional writer, it’s a great place to start.

The Best Books about Living the Writing Life 

4. Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Best for: Creative writers

Sometimes writers take themselves too seriously. By allowing us a glimpse of her own human foibles, Anne Lamott takes some of the stings out of the things that cause writers grief, from perfectionism to insomnia. And she does it all with her celebrated wit and self-deprecating humour. It’s like having a crazy writer aunt to commiserate with. And you’ll learn a thing or two in the process.

5. Writing Down The Bones 

Best for: Creative writers

Natalie Goldberg’s approach to writing is simple—if you want to write truthfully and powerfully, you have to connect with yourself. Using Zen teachings, she encourages writers to follow their first thoughts and to trust their minds and bodies to lead them. Her voice is accessible and sometimes vulnerable, and her inspirational and wildly creative methods have been helping writers find their voices for over thirty years.

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