Whether you’re a blogger, marketer, or journalist, great contents is a must if you want to be successful.
Unfortunately, there are so many great contents out there on the internet, but (perhaps) none of them is yours.
Deep inside, you want to write amazing articles so you can gain followers and more traffic to your website…
…but you simply don’t have the skill to create such articles.
Fortunately, writing is a skill.
And you can upgrade skills, just like in video games.
For that reason, I have compiled the best writing books that will help you transform into a better writer and content creator.
To make your life easier, the books in this list are ordered by their popularity, from the highest to the lowest.
Go check it out.
Disclosure: We earn some money from affiliate links, thank you.
|Title||On Writing||The Elements of Style||On Writing Well|
|Buy This If||You write for a living, or if you definitely care about your writing career.||You want to learn the fundamentals of good writing and other technical stuff.||You write mostly nonfiction or dealing with articles and other commercial stuff.|
|Rating||9.5 out of 10||9.3 out of 10||9.4 out of 10|
|Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
1. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
First, I must tell you this, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft is a MUST HAVE for any writer who is serious about their career.
This is literally one of the legendary books on writing that inspires a lot of writers out there and help them improved their skills.
The book tells the story of the author itself, from his struggling career to his widely reported accident in 1999.
Not only that this book is brilliantly structured, it’s also definitely inspiring and empowering whoever read this book.
In conclusion, if you’re a writer, blogger, journalist, or even an affiliate marketer, buy this book, read it, and never lend this book to anyone!
2. The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White
I must say that this is also a definitely must have book if you write for your living or moving toward that type of career.
Not only that, many people claims that The Element of Style is the Bible of the writing world, a sacred text for writers.
To make the book more relevant to the current era, new information were added, such as the suggestion of using word processors to make the writing process much easier.
And unlike the past editions, the latest edition also provides the younger generations with illustrations and visual stimulation.
Finally, I definitely recommend everyone who writes to buy this book and start implementing what the authors teach us.
3. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
Warning, if you’re looking for a more technical book on structures or grammar, this is not the book you’re looking for.
Instead, this book aims to make you more productive, especially to get yourself start writing as soon as possible without over editing.
Filled with anecdotes and great advice, the book will spark your creativity and free your character to be true to yourself.
Written in a highly readable manner, this book is funny, informative, and ridiculously generous and inspiring.
Surely if you’re still doubting yourself whether you’re going to make it or not as a writer, you need a little motivation, and you need this book.
4. Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder
Although not necessarily a technical writing book, this book will improve the way you create stories and deliver them.
Written by a real screenwriter with real experiences, this book provides you with advice from insiders to get you to the next level.
Furthermore, Save the Cat! also provides you with the basic rules of a great story and what you should do once you finished your works.
Suffice to say, if you’re (obviously) an aspiring screenwriter, you may want to consider this book the next time you go to a bookstore.
However, if you’re a blogger, marketer, or journalist, you will definitely learn something from this book, and it’s up to you whether you should buy this book or not.
5. Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss
In this book, former editor Lynne Truss, concerned about our current grammatical state and focusing on the proper use of punctuation.
By using examples throughout history and her own imagination, Truss shows how meaning is shaped by commas and apostrophes, and also the hilarious consequences of inappropriate usage of punctuation.
Furthermore, this book also provides you with the history of punctuation from the invention of the question mark to George Orwell avoiding the semicolon.
If your writings still convey the wrong message, maybe it’s because you aren’t using punctuation the way it should be, so buy this book and start reading it.
Perhaps, after reading this book, you will improve the clarity of your writings and definitely have a higher standard.
6. On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser
First of all, I must say this book is the middle ground between motivational books that encourage its reader to be productive and technical grammar books that deal only with the rules of writing.
No matter if you want to write about people, places, science, business, or technology, On Writing Well offers you fundamental principles as well as the insights of a distinguished writer.
Being one of the most persuasive books on writing, it will definitely change the way you write, and obviously, level up your standard.
The author also provides us with applications of the writing principles to various forms of nonfiction, such as interview, travel article, memoir, etc.
In conclusion, it’s a book that I also recommend you to at least read it once in your life, especially when you write for a living.
7. Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg
With humor and practicality, Natalie Goldberg inspires writers and aspiring writers to take the leap into writing skillfully and creatively.
Natalie points out that all beginner writers are controlled by their fear of other people, therefore write what they think other people want to hear.
To prevent this miserable thing, she encourages us to free the writer within, to just write and write and write.
This book is not a technical or manual book, but rather a highly readable personal insight into the freedom of writing.
In conclusion, if you need the inspiration to keep you going as a writer, this 30-year old book may be the answer.
8. Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee
Robert McKee is a screenwriter whose name is already known in the Hollywood film industry for putting major screenwriting careers back on track.
His seminars are perhaps the most sought-after screenwriting course that offers the most comprehensive and detailed explanation of the craft of writing for the big screen.
Story is simply a tool for diagnosing what’s wrong with our story, that moment when we know something is not right but we don’t know what.
And although it’s a book about screenwriting, any writers could benefit from it because it will teach us how to deliver our messages.
If you’re a fiction writer, journalist, or a blogger who writes case studies, then a good storytelling skill is a must, and I definitely recommend you to buy this book.
9. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne and Dave King
Rejection is a normal thing for any novelist out there, even for the already-known ones, and it’s likely what you will face if you’re going to submit your first work.
However, you can definitely reduce the chance of rejection simply by editing your own work before submitting it.
This is where this book comes in, it provides you with all the things you need to see your own work from the perspective of a senior editor.
Surely it would really help to improve your unpublished novel by reworking it with the help of the principles taught in this book.
Personally, I would recommend this book to not only fiction writers who just started their career and have no work published yet, but also to writers with published works.
10. Story Engineering: Mastering the 6 Core Competencies of Successful Writing by Larry Brooks
Some writers labor their entire lives without ever learning that successful stories are dependent upon good engineering.
The truth is unless you are master of the form, function, and criteria of successful storytelling, writing the first draft without planning is an ineffective way to begin, according to Larry Brooks.
Story Engineering is a book that offers you the architecture of a good storytelling by combining and empowering the six aspects of storytelling.
Not only that, you will learn the mistakes in your stories that has been keeping you from getting published.
In conclusion, if you want to save the time of learning and get published as soon as possible, perhaps you should read this book.
11. How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson
The gist of this book—the Snowflake Method—is basically a ten proven steps to help you quickly map out your story.
And in this book, you will follow the story of a fictitious novelist as she learns to tap into the amazing power of the Snowflake Method.
This book is essentially a how-to guide written in a story form, it shows you how it’s done rather than tells you.
Furthermore, you will also find instructions on how to apply the lessons you just learned from the story of the novelist.
Other books may have offered the same method, but with different names, and if you haven’t read any book about fiction writing yet, this one is to be considered.
12. Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish by James Scott Bell
In Plot & Structure, James Scott Bell explains why some stories just work and how we as aspiring authors can do the same.
The author believes that you can learn to craft a good plot, whether you prefer to plan every detail of your stories in advance or pantsing, you can still learn all the elements of an engaging story.
Basically, everything you need to know about plotting is here, for example: dealing with beginnings, handling individual scenes, and crafting complex plots.
The book also comes up with a number of systems, theories, and exercises to improve your plot structuring.
I really recommend Plot & Structure for anyone who writes fiction, this book is surely one of the most mentioned books that teach us how to plot.
13. Writing Fiction For Dummies by Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy
If you’re a beginner or maybe an intermediate level fiction writer, you may need this book as your guide. Why?
Because you will learn how to come up with a plot and test it to see if it’s strong enough to keep your audience immersed in your story.
Plus, you will also learn how to create deep, engaging, and amazing characters to satisfy your readers need of such element.
Moreover, another important thing you will learn from this book is how to keep the tension and pacing strong.
If you think you need some guidance in writing fiction, this book perhaps should be in your consideration.
14. Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark
Roy Peter Clark invites aspiring writers to not think writing as a special talent, but rather a purposeful craft.
To simplify things, he urges the reader to think writing as carpentry and consider Writing Tools as the toolbox.
There more than 50 writing “tools” in this book to guide you, and they’re divided into four sections complete with examples from outstanding writers to illustrates each point.
While some of the tools mentioned in this book are commonly found in other books, there are a few unique and valuable tools.
Combined with other writing books, such as On Writing Well or The Elements of Style, I think it is safe to say that you will gain a lot from these books.
15. The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler
Originally published in 1998, The Writer’s Journey is now available in an updated and expanded edition and continues to be one of the most relied upon reference works for screenwriters.
Christopher Vogler explores the historic and relationship between modern storytelling and mythology and also reveals a set of useful myth-inspired storytelling paradigms.
Not only that, this book also features an analysis of all six Star Wars movies as an epic theme of a father-son relationship.
Moreover, the final chapter of this book will inspire us to be adventurous to discover ourselves through our writing.
Obviously screenwriters will gain much from this book, however, those of you that also deals with storytelling had nothing to lose from reading this book.
16. Writing the Breakout Novel: Insider Advice for Taking Your Fiction to the Next Level by Donald Maass
First of all, Writing the Breakout Novel is an honest book that portrays the realities of the publishing industry.
And while the main focus of this book is fiction writing, the author go beyond the usual bland advice in other how-to-write books.
However, you should know that the book doesn’t give advice on how to craft the perfect and beautiful art, but rather how to turn a good story into a commercial success.
Basically, if being a bestseller is what you’re after, then this book is going to show you the practical ways to achieve it.
And my advice is, don’t just read one book, go buy and read other great books, such as the ones mentioned in this post.
17. 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
Unlike the previous book, which focused on commercial success, this one aims for a truly good writing, regardless whether it’s going to be successful or not (but usually it is).
It offers you with every basic aspect you need to know in order to improve your writing, without any bullshits.
What makes this book is worthy to be on your shelf is the advice given in this book is timeless and can be applied to almost any kind of writings.
Not to mention there is an exercise in this book to find your own voice, and it’s considered as the hardest (but valuable) writing lesson you will ever face.
Honestly, I strongly recommend this book to any intermediate-level writers, rather than complete beginners, but if you still curious about this book, then go for it.
18. Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain
Although the book was originally published in 1965, there are good reasons why it’s still in print, it’s because it’s solid and timeless.
Written in short sentences to make it easy to find specific information, surely this book is highly readable.
On the beginning chapter, the author talks about the most common traps writers fall into and what you need to know about it.
There is also a page consisting of marketing advice to encourage the reader to study the markets so they can get published faster.
In other words, Techniques of the Selling Writer is the book for writers who want to turn rejection slips into cashable checks.
19. How to Write a Damn Good Novel: A Step-by-Step No Nonsense Guide to Dramatic Storytelling by James N. Frey
First, before going into the content of this book, I think you should know some things before you read this book.
The author is not going to teach you all the essential grammatical rules or even into great detail about characterization.
However, he will cover all of these and organize them into an easy-to-digest whole so a lot of people could benefit from this book.
There are a lot of good novels, of the critically-acclaimed piece to commercial bestsellers, contains the elements discussed in this book.
If you want a hard, practical easy reading manual on writing fiction that could help you write for the masses, this book is for you.
20. The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
Warning! This book is not a typical how-to-write book, this is a book that will tell us the life of a writer from the perspective of the winner of the Pulitzer Prize herself.
She wrote about writing, what it means to write, and what happens when you write, and you will also find insights into writing.
It will inspire you, especially if you’re in doubt whether to continue your writing career or let it sink and choose a normal life.
Last warning, if you want a how-to-write book that covers the techniques and mechanics of writing, go look for other books instead.
But if you want to know what it’s like to be a writer, to get inspiration, and to get the ultimate reasons to write, then you may want to read this book.
Do You Know Any Other Great Books On Writing? Share With Us!
If you think I’ve been missing some books you know, leave a comment below so everybody will benefit from it.
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