Writing can be tough, and nothing is as intimidating as a blank Word document staring back at you. While the quickest way to becoming a better writer is just writing a lot, there are a lot of helpful resources out there that I would recommend. Here are some widely-acclaimed books to check out if you’re an aspiring writer.
- On writing: a memoir of the craft
On Writing by bestselling author Stephen King is a memoir that intertwines his personal life with his experience as a writer. Through his journey as a writer, King offers advice to those who are also trying to get better at the craft. From practical writing tips to book recommendations, King offers insights into his own life and into his writing process.
- the elements of style
The Elements of Style is a tiny book with a lot to say. It’s a style guide that’ll help you clean up your writing and tighten up your composition. The book goes over principles of composition, words that are commonly misused and essential grammar rules. The book promotes writing that’s clean, accurate and succinct.
- the art of the interview: lessons from a master of the craft
If you’re a journalist or a nonfiction writer, you might want to conduct interviews to bring your work to life. Maybe you’re a solid writer, but you’re struggling in this department. If so, check out this book by former UCLA professor and acclaimed writer Lawrence Grobel. Grobel provides a guide to executing a great interview, and he shares some of his own experiences as well.
- draft no. 4: on the writing process
Here’s another book for nonfiction writers: Draft No. 4, a book described as a “master class on the writing craft.” Through essays, John McPhee shares insights from his time as a writer and a professor at Princeton University. He also provides practical advice on tone, structure, diction and other elements that shape a long-form nonfiction piece. McPhee also recounts the struggles he experienced while writing that all of us can relate to.
- any book in the genre you’re trying to write
If you want to write in a genre, you better read that genre. You’re not going to become a better poet if you never read poetry, and you’re not going to become a better short story writer if you never read short stories. Reading will implicitly help you become a better writer, and it’s a fun way to work on your craft.
The books I’m recommending are only suggestions, and the pieces of advice these authors give are just suggestions as well. At the end of the day, writing is what you make of it. But remember, these authors were once in your shoes, and there’s a lot of wisdom in these pages.