5 Writing Books to Add to Your TBR (to be read) Pile

It is a new year, and it is a good time to make some writing resolutions. One I recommend for you is to read more books on writing craft and making a writing life. I have picked five that you should put on the top of your TBR pile. 

1. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

I love Anne Lamott so much. I heard her speak once, and it was prety much my idea of heaven. Her writing is so warm, funny, and honest. She not only offers great advice on how to write, but she also helps you figure out how to live your life. The greatest strength of her book is that she makes you feel like you aren’t alone. She knows your struggles, and she gives you hope as a writer (or as a human). 

My favorite piece of advice: It is okay to write a “shitty” first draft. It is what everyone does (even writers as amazing as Anne Lamott). 

2. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

This is one of my favorite writing books (and not just because there is a Corgi on the cover). He talks about his writing practice and history in a way that helps the reader by showing how his experience can be applied to your life. Really, who is more qualified to give writing advice than Stephen King? With that many bestsellers, he must know what he is doing. 

My favorite piece of advice: You have to write consistently to achieve success. Stephen King even writes on holidays! You have to treat it like a job and show up. 

3. Writing Down the Bones: Feeling the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

If you are a little woo-woo, this book is your jam. Natalie loves zen and meditation, and she incorporates it into her book. I really adore this book because so much of it focuses on the mindset behind writing. Also, reading the book is like having tea with a sweet friend. What is better than that? (Maybe dancing with Channing Tatum, but we have to be realistic here.)

My favorite piece of advice: Writing isn’t linear. What works for one writer might not work for you. 

4. Story Engineering by Larry Brooks

This book changed my life. No joke. The concepts are pretty simple, but the way he presents them are a revelation. The book discusses how you need a blueprint and the core competencies (concept, character, theme, story structure, scene construction, and writing voice).  If you want to learn about the basics of a good story, this is a must-read. Heck, you should read it even if you don’t want to know the basics of a good story! (Hat tip to Jennifer Blanchard for introducing me to this book.)

My favorite piece of advice: The difference between a writer who only has to clean up the writing in their drafts versus one who has endless rewrites is if he or she plans in advance. You need to know the six core competencies to tell a successful story.

5. Making a Literary Life: Advice for Writers and Other Dreamers by Carolyn See

If you want to make your living writing, this book is a must. I have never read a book so focused on treating writing like a career. Whether it discusses book covers to networking, this book has your back. There are even fun comics in the book!

My favorite piece of advice: Writers need to be good networkers. If you enjoy a writer’s work, send him or her a note (or a bunch of balloons). 

What are your favorite writing books? Tell me in the comments below. 

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