It is said that to become a writer, you have to be a reader first. Every reading experience adds to your knowledge of reading. Some books, however, bring to you more as a writer than others. I’m taking you all on this journey to be a better writer via handpicked books. Some of these books might open you up on technical aspects, others may take you on a mental journey towards better writing, while some may simply help you to pause and reflect. Here’s my list of six books that a writer should read in their lifetime, preferably as soon as possible. When you buy them, it will be a good idea to check Shopper.com and save some money when you shop.
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
It is considered to be one of the holy grails of the writing world. It is, in fact, a memoir. The fact that it happens to be one of the masterclasses on the subject of writing is a tribute to the genius of Stephen King. The book is essentially a journey of Stephen King as a writer, through thick and thin. It talks about writing, inspires you to write well, and also makes you more aware of the reality of being a writer. The book was welcomed by ‘Long Live the King’ headline of Entertainment Weekly.
- Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul
Chicken Soup is one of the widely recognized and loved series, created and curated to power up our inspiration. Inspiration is one of the most important ingredients for success. Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul is a collection of stories of writers in different phases of their career or process, and how they got through and conquered the demon. The series is about completing the challenge of writing, while also being able to enjoy the same. The stories involve people like you and me, people who have been through the same problems but have found ways to overcome. The book will give you optimism. You can also check out other books from chicken soup curated for writers like:Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers 101 Motivational Stories for Writers -Budding or Bestselling -from Books to Blogs
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
Bird by bird is an expression for one by one or one problem at a time. It was advice from the author’s father to her brother, who was ten at the time and writing a report on birds. Her brother was worried about the humongous task that was due in three months’ time. Father barely simplified the process. That’s how the book works, by taking problems bird by bird, and tackling them. Be it short assignments, shitty drafts, characters, plot, dialogues; everything is dealt with properly. Notes on life are an important aspect that is touched upon too, in the same vein.
- The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
The War of Art is a wholesome book for creative people in different levels of despair over their struggles for their art. The book puts several ideas across, and breaks several myths around the art and its creation. The book is dense. It can be hard-read. It must not be taken all at once. However, the ideas presented in the book are deep and worth keeping safe. Once you imbibe the book within you, you will start feeling the effects of the same. It is not a book that will teach you writing. It is, rather, a book that provides you with an idea on pursuing your art, and finding inspiration.
- Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss
One of the run-away hits when it was released, the title of the book is also a joke. The book is purely about punctuation. Punctuation is an important part of writing. It is an essential part if you plan to do any serious writing. Ironically, most people do not know or understand punctuation. It works in mysterious ways. What will editors do if you take care of all the grammar and punctuation, after all, isn’t it? That’s a silly excuse, and also, this is an age of self-publishing and cost-cutting. And, social media of course. How long will you carry an editor, when you can simply learn grammar and punctuation, and let editor enhance your story rather than be fixated on fixing the apostrophe and the exclamations. The book is insanely humorous, too.
- How To Make A Living With Your Writing: Books, Blogging and More by Joanna Penn
The joke, often, with the writers is the question ‘what do you do for a living?’. If the book is to be believed and followed, the answer can be ‘writing’. The book talks about learning through writing and blogging. Not a get-rich scheme, this book is simply a testament to the fact that many authors manage to earn a living through writing. The idea is always to treat writing as a business, and put yourself out there in the same manner. Writers are often guilty of putting themselves on a higher pedestal, and talking about why writing isn’t rewarding because people are not smart enough. This book should help you get started with setting your financial journey on the right path, while also allowing you to focus on your art of writing.
Writing might be a mysterious business. However, it isn’t, if you follow the simple rules. As Stephen King would put it, the two rules of writing are: ‘read a lot, and write a lot’. I have put forth a list of books that can be extremely helpful in various problems that a writer may face. Inspiration, grammar, writing methods and processes, and making a living with writing – several subjects are covered in these six books. These books, I believe, will be essential for your journey as a writer, and hence must be read by each and every budding writer out there. Or, you could pick the book that solves your particular problem.
Are you a writer? Put your blog links below, and I’ll happily check out your blog and books (although there might be a reading queue).