My Favorite Books About Writing

Here are a few of my favorite books on writing, in order:

Making a Literary Life: Advice for Writers and Other Dreamers, by Carolyn See (2002). A great title! Making a Literary Life is a fine and funny book about writing. “Write a thousand words a day.” Indeed. Highly recommended.

The Writer’s Portable Mentor: A Guide to Art, Craft, and the Writing Life, by Priscilla Long (2010). This is an essential book on writing and on improving craft. In my opinion, easily the best book on writing published in 2010. Long is a master writer and master writing instructor. Write for “at least 15 minutes a day.” Highly recommended.

Writing to Change the World, by Mary Pipher (2006). Another fine book on writing and why writing matters. Pipher included numerous powerful quotes on writing in Writing to Change the World. Highly recommended.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott (1994). One of the standards on writing. After early success as a writer, Lamott sunk into alcoholism. She then emerged sober with faith renewed. If you have a chance, watch the documentary based on Bird by Bird. Book and documentary highly recommended.

The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers, by Betsy Lerner (2000). Essential advice for writers from an editor’s perspective. Highly recommended.

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, by Natalie Goldberg (1986). A classic on writing. Recommended; I would recommend any book by Natalie Goldberg! Goldberg has written a few books about writing, including this, Wild Mind, and Thunder and Lightning: Cracking Open the Writer’s Craft. 

Her newest book is Old Friend From Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir (2007).

I haven’t read Wild Mind, but I have participated in Wild Mind-like timed writing exercises. Very interesting technique.

What, no male writers? OK, of course.

Write From the Heart: Unleashing the Power of Your Creativity, by Hal Zina Bennett (2001, revised edition). Bennett writes with a spiritual bent. Marvelous book. Recommended.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King (2000). A very good book on writing. Recommended.

What’s on my reading list: Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing, by Margaret Atwood (2002). A great title! Atwood is a fine writer with an exceptional vision. Have you read Oryx and Crake or The Handmaid’s Tale?

What are YOUR favorite books on writing? Write and let me know!

About Andrew Shattuck McBride

I am a writer, editor, writing coach, and consultant. I work in a variety of genres, including poetry, short stories, and creative non-fiction. I also have a couple of novels simmering on back burners. THANK YOU to Nan Macy of Village Books for taking this photo (June 2011).
This entry was posted in Authors, Books, Books Authors and Book Reviews, Notes on the Literary Life. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to My Favorite Books About Writing

  1. Thanks for the library wish list, Andy!

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