5 Crazy-Good Books On Writing
by Thea Fiore-Bloom, PhD
Wanna be a published writer? Even get paid to write?
Just don’t do what I did.
Don’t take fancy-pants writing workshops and don’t go to school forever.*
Instead, staple your butt to your chair, write 15 minutes a day to start, and read at least one of the books below.
I promise there are no academically correct **Elements of Style recommendations here.
You won’t need a dictionary or amphetamines to finish any book on my list. Many are under 9 bucks.
One thing all 5 texts have in common?
Each author will support you to overcome the biggest stumbling block writers face every day; the stomach churning fear of letting others see the real you on the page.
1. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Ann Lamott
This is one of the best-selling books on writing for a reason– it’s a life changer. Flocks of formerly blocked writers are flapping about free today because they read the section in this book where Lamott gives you permission to write a “shitty first draft.”
Get Bird by Bird if you want to feel like you have a new, bawdy best friend who will love and encourage the heck out you (and just happens to be one of the savviest, sassiest writing teachers in the U.S.)
Don’t get this book if you are sensitive to “colorful” language or you file recovery stories from former alcoholics under TMI (too much information).
2. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
I have zero interest in horror so I avoided this deceptively simple guide by King for decades. Don’t make the same mistake.
If you ever thought you were a failure because you sent out a manuscript once and got rejected, don’t miss King’s story on his rejection nail. A nail, turned spike, that he kept near his desk to house a burgeoning stack of “thanks but no thanks” replies from publishers.
Better yet listen to King’s teaching stories in his own voice in the stellar audio version of this book.
It’s ironic that a man whose bread and butter is instilling fear, wrote one of the most comforting, cheering, fear banishing books a writer could hope to read.
On Writing is a thoughtful gift for any writer, novice to pro.
3. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield.