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5 Ways To Make The Writer on Your List Happy
by Thea Fiore-Bloom, PhD
Here are the 5 books I wish someone had given me when I started out.
Giving a writer you love some of these books will increase the chances of their dreams coming true.
That’s a nice present, right?
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. (This post contains hand-selected affiliate links to Amazon and Barnes and Noble where you can pick up many of these gems for only ten dollars or so.)
One thing all 5 best books on writing have in common?
Each author will support you to overcome the biggest stumbling block new and experienced writers alike face every day; the stomach-churning fear of letting others see the real you on the page.
Best Books To Give To a Writer #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 “shi#ty 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 of 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.
Best Books To Give To a Writer #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 “you stink” 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.
Best Book To Give To a Writer #3
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield.
Want a tough love, Charles Bukowski-badass-boxer alternative to the patience and empathy of Julia Cameron’s classic The Artist’s Way?
The War of Art is for you.
Ever heard of the phenomenon of resistance? You will be well versed in its wily ways by the end of this page-turner.
The War of Art is a wake-up call, that works.
It can raise the writing dead. Great for visual artists too.
The audio version of the War of Art, (narrated by the incomparable voice-over artist George Guidal) is a wonderful thing to have tucked away on your smartphone. Listen to a chapter when you are feeling loony and listless. In no time Pressfield will have slapped you about, thrown cold water on your face like a great cut man, and have you back at your desk typing away.
Best Book To Give To a Writer #4
The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & Life by Marion Roach Smith
But what if you want to get super vulnerable and write a memoir? You have to get The Memoir Project.
Or maybe you are composing a non-fiction book that will include just a few tales from your own life to help the reader understand your points? You have to get The Memoir Project.
This deceptively thin, funny, easy-to-read book, contains a destiny-changing, fill-in-the-blank algorithm on page twenty-five.
In my opinion, as a writing coach, if you answer the questions on that page you will increase the odds of your book succeeding in the marketplace- by say 5000 percent.
So, yes, this book will help you sell more books. But more importantly? The Memoir Project will help you understand your soul’s deep purpose for wanting to write your book in the first place.
Best Books To Give To a Writer #5
You Are A Writer ( So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins.
If you can’t muster up the confidence to call yourself a writer in public yet, start here.
Goins is a millennial motivator who revs readers to the stratosphere. You can read You Are A Writer on your Kindle in under 3 hours, and emerge with a shiny new attitude.
This is not the book for you if the last words you want to hear are platform or blogging.
And there are two books that I believe are better for teaching writers how to pitch pieces to magazines.
But the rest of Goin’s advice is top-notch in my opinion.
The Charmed Studio has several humorous posts on writing:
Want to write a children’s book? How Not To Write A Children’s Book: The 9 Biggest Mistakes First Time Authors Make
I also offer one-on-one writing coaching sessions for artists to get you from where you are now as a writer, to where you want to be.
Video version of this 5 Best Books on Writing For Artists from The Charmed Studio YouTube Channel.
* If your tastes run more toward the classy and you want book suggestions that include respected works like The Elements of Style, zip over to 10 Best Books For Writers List by Booker prize winner DBC Pierre.
Got a favorite writing book I didn’t mention here?
Please leave it in the comments below!
Thanks for reading.