Weekly Journal

9 Books to Elevate Your Writing

Kaila Krayewski

Julien Gustinelli

31st July 2018

Being the best writer you can be isn’t easy. Already, there are so many niches in the industry. Certainly, this makes it confusing—to know which particular style of writing you want to hone in on: content writing, copywriting, grant writing; there are numerous forms of writing, but all of them have a common thread in good writing.

Good writing shines from within. That’s why it’s important to learn from the best writers. In fact, many of them have already written books on the topic.

Here are nine books to elevate your writing and boost your creative output.

1. Zen in the Art of Writing, by Ray Bradbury

Write. Don’t think. Relax. That is the key philosophy of Ray Bradbury, author of the famous dystopian novel, Fahrenheit 451. In this short book, which is made up of essays, poems, and golden nuggets of advice, Bradbury focuses on the playful act of writing rather than treating it like a tedious chore. Upon his death, The New York Times cited him as “the writer most responsible for bringing modern fiction into the literary mainstream.” Luckily he left us with this inspirational book on the power of creativity.  

2. On Writing, by Stephen King

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The road to hell is paved with adverbs. A book of direct writing advice, On Writing is perhaps the most important book on this list, considering that the author, Stephen King, is currently the most prolific writer we can find who decided to write a book on the craft. Written in memoir form, the book has a number of memorable adages and stories.

3. Write, Publish, Repeat, by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant

The No. 1 Bestselling author of The 4-hour workweek, Tim Ferriss new book surprises us with a compilation of tools, tactics, tips, and habits from more than 130 of the world’s top performers. This tribe of mentors has billionaires, athletes, entrepreneurs, and artists all with a unique view.

4. Steering the Craft, by Ursula K. LeGuin

Ultimately you write alone.” That is the main theme of the course Ursula K. LeGuin gave on writing that then became a book. Tersely writing to her readers, Ursula focuses on the details of the craft—noting that it is equally important that the expert author also become an expert reader, editor, and critic. A book of techniques, Steering the Craft focuses on voice, good use of punctuation, and sentence structure.

5. The Writer’s Journey, by Christopher Vogler

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I realized that the good stories were affecting the organs of my body in various ways, and the really good ones were stimulating more than one organ” says Vogler. A book on the fundamental elements of what makes a good book, The Writer’s Journey delves into the magic and lore that goes into storytelling. Focusing on story structure, Vogler helps writers identify the classic hero’s journey. In addition, the book also contains short exercises and tutorials that will help you improve your writing chops.

6. Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon

Kleon advises: Write the books you want to read.” A New York Times bestseller, Steal Like An Artist is the modern writer’s guide. Though this book is not particularly geared toward writers, it is filled with well-thought advice on making your ideas come to life—making it the ultimate pep talk for any successful artist.

7. Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg

If you are not afraid of the voice inside you,” claims Goldberg, “you will not fear the critics outside you.” Like Ray Bradbury, Natalie Goldberg is a writer with a Zen approach. Encouraging writers to subtract rules from writing, and go with the flow, Goldberg makes a poignant case for writers to think less and write more. In short, this book inspires us to let go of our preconceived notions on writing so we can get down to the very honest, real, and raw writing we have inside us.

8. Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot that Grips Readers from Start to Finish, by James Scott Bell

A novelist and award-winning screenplay writer, James Scott Bell’s book for fiction and non-fiction writers gives readers advice on creating a believable storyline. The most technical of the books on this list, Plot & Structure deals with brainstorming techniques to create original storylines and understandable plotting diagrams. It also includes tips for solving plot problems. If you want a storyline explained to you in simple terms, this is the book has the answer.

9. Getting into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors, by Brandilyn Collins

Want to make your fiction characters as good as the ones in your favorite movies? This one-of-a-kind book distinctly recalls and shows the reader the importance of the character-driven narrative. Showing how writers can make use of techniques used by actors, Getting into Character gives an in-depth analysis of the most important component of fiction.

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