Must-Read Books to Become a Writer

Must-Read Books to Become a Writer

Becoming a professional writer requires a lot of hard work. Several things factor in when judging if one can make it as a writer or not. The most important amongst them is how well one writes. If you think that all you need to become a good writer is an amazing vocabulary, you are already on the wrong path. Yes, vocabulary helps make your narrative more impactful, but what also matters is how you present your idea. Sometimes the use of even the simplest of words has the ability to leave the reader in awe of how well written a piece of writing is. We will mention some books to become a Writer in ths article here.

Books to Become a Writer

It may sound like a daunting task to achieve this skill, but one can learn it by reading what some of the most famous and expert writers have to say about this. One of the most important steps in becoming a good writer is first becoming a good reader and expanding one’s range by reading and writing in various genres. This allows one to experiment and find which style suits him best.  If you are interested in books to become a Writer, you must read the following books to help you achieve just that.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, By Stephen King

Perhaps the most recommended book for any aspiring writer is this masterpiece by Stephen King, one of the most well-known writers of our time. Personal anecdotes and practically applicable advice are what make this book the perfect place to start your reading. This book is not your regular “How To” book. If you have ever read Stephen King’s books, you will be aware of his knack for beautiful narration and thrilling plots. Surprisingly enough, he has managed to turn this half memoir and half self-help book into a witty and interesting one. 

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, By Steven Pressfield

Those periods when the writer within you feels like something inside is blocking the progress of your writing. You need to read this book. No, it doesn’t inspire, but actual suggestions and methods that would help you deal with your “writer’s block.” It would help you realize the reason for the block, which Pressfield in his book refers to as the “Resistance,” and provide practical solutions for defeating this resistance that is obstructing your creative juices from flowing freely. 

Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, By Anne Lamott

This witty anecdotal piece aims at providing an important glimpse into the life of a writer. What one can expect oftentimes and how to deal with what hurdles come with the job. Writers often tend to become too critical and take themselves more seriously than they should, leading them to hinder their work further. This piece, very much like On Writing by Stephen King, is built in a part memoir and part advice form, making the read all the more interesting for readers as it sheds some light on the author’s life. In this book, Anne Lamott reaffirms the idea that reading and writing expand one’s mind to see things more broadly than when he started. 

A Writer’s Life, By Gay Talese

As the Washington Post puts it, this book brings to light what it takes for a writer to produce work worth reading. This masterpiece by Gay Talese, who was also a journalist for the New York Times, explains the interrelation between one’s writing an experience that helps him produce quality pieces worthy of becoming best sellers. He brightly shines a light on the life that a writer leads and how he draws inspiration from his own experience and from listening to stories that others have to share: the struggles, experiences, barriers, and achievements, all of it. In a nutshell, he describes what it takes to be a writer. 

The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, By Julia Cameron

One thing that makes this book more special is that the Author, Julia, is not just a writer but also a creativity coach. How is this important, you ask? This fact about her other profession explains her encouraging tone and different approach in inspiring readers, which can easily be felt in the book’s flow. One of the ideas that particularly need to be mentioned is that of “Morning Pages.” Julia encourages aspiring writers to write what she calls “Morning Pages.” She explains that this might not be your best work, not even close to good. The aim of these pages is not to be of publishing quality but to get your creative juices flowing. She says that these pages are meant to feed your “artist child,” and though they might not be well-written or good ideas, they will certainly help you get into the flow of writing that particular day. It has also been attributed that these morning pages are a solution to Pressfield’s “Resistance.” 

The Sense of Style, By Steven Pinker

A challenging book for novices, The Sense of Style elaborates and focuses on the fluidity of language while writing. It contends that while there certainly are rules to language and grammar that need to be followed, a more contemporary approach allows writers to perceive an idea or situation and bend these rules accordingly to make their writing more interesting and reader-friendly. Pinker provides a witty yet clear account of his idea of language fluidity and how it directly affects the writers and readers of the 21st Century. His idea was born out of his observation of the kind of language that people in the 21st-century use, not only in a professional or educational situation but even on social media. He uses this observation to compile this practically applicable work that leaves the readers completely in awe. 

Zen in the Art of Writing, By Ray Bradbury

Better known as a master of Sci-Fi storytelling, Ray Bradbury uses this book to convey his learnings about the writing profession from his long career as one. Written in several short essays compiled together into one book, this book is easy to read, which is amazing because he certainly puts forward some very inspiring ideas. Bradbury motivates readers to expand the boundaries of what they read. He tells them to read a variety of writings, short stories, and novels, for example, to get a feel of how writing varies. He motivates his readers to find what excites them about writing, come up with original ideas, and learn skills such as plot building and building characters to write compelling stories. He asks them to find their own voice and use it to present their story in the most engaging way possible. He posits that if you are not excited by what you write, it means that your focus is on commercializing your work, and it is nearly impossible to become a good writer that way. 

Lord of The Flies, By William Golding

This book embodies the notion that you do not need big words or flowery language to be a good writer. An all-time classic, Lord of the Flies, is important for all aspiring writers to read to understand that good writing is not all about amazing vocabulary. It is about how well the flow of the narrative can hold the reader’s attention. Written in simple language (as its subjects are a bunch of teenagers who would have limited language proficiency), the author in this book has been able to discuss sensitive yet powerful concepts and ideas about society eloquently. It is this fluency that can be attributed to the relevance this book still holds despite having been published in 1954

Lolita, By Vladimir Nobokov

For those who are particularly intrigued by thrillers and perhaps want to become writers in this genre, the importance of this book cannot be exaggerated. This book has it all in a controversial topic, nail-biting storytelling, plot twists, and a whole variety of emotions. While focusing on the dark subject of Pedophiles (the protagonist of the story is a pedophile who gets sexually involved with his stepdaughter, who is 12 years of age), the author can introduce moments of humor in his novel, which may seem impossible but is another reason why this book is a must-read. It will shed light on dealing with a dark subject without making it too grim for readers. This is a story capable of turning into a movie. 

The Elements of Style, By William Strunk, Jr and E.B. White

For those looking to learn English grammar basics and important rules, this book is a go-to. A favorite of writing teachers, this book basically contains the do and don’ts of Grammar. Unlike Pinker’s Sense of Style, this book is focused more on the restrictive rules that must absolutely be followed. It does not believe in language fluidity and rather in adherence to the set laws of grammar. While its absolute obedience might not be helpful in today’s times, it is still an important book for new readers and writers, especially because it helps them understand and learn the basics. You can later determine how much to stick to and how much to stick to forgo.

Ernest Hemingway on Writing, Edited by Larry W. Phillips

Ernest Hemingway was not a believer in documenting his beliefs on this subject. So this book is not really a memoir. Rather, it is a collection of his letters on this subject he wrote to his publishers, friends, and other acquaintances. His letters described a writer’s life and had some advice and insights on the craft of writing and the discipline and dedication it takes to be a writer. This book is a collection of all that correspondence and interviews where Hemingway shared similar ideas. 

How to Write like Tolstoy, By Richard Cohen

No, this book is not the novel equivalent of a fan page for Tolstoy. While he is one of the main subjects, this book is actually about all of the greatest authors of all time. The author introduces you to how the greats think. What goes on in their minds while making the several choices that make their books great. What encourages them to pick a particular manner of writing or the tone of narration? What inspires them to build their compelling characters the way that they do? To find out all of this, you need to read this book. The purpose of this book is to inspire the reader to think about why he is going in a particular direction and why he is making the choices he is, and whether these choices would make his work great.  

On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction, By William Zinsser

Another classic on the subject, On Writing, Well, is the brainchild of author, journalist, and Yale University’s writing instructor William Zinsser. His vast experience explains his expertise on the subject and why his book is among the most sold and sought after. In this book, he describes the principles of writing and then elaborates on how you can achieve them. He maintains that the importance of keeping a flow throughout the lines, paragraphs, and sections is the key to keeping your readers riveted till the end. He also provides advice and guidance on finding his voice and tone and how he must apply it in his narration. It is a philosophical and theoretical piece and gives applicable advice in a mentoring tone to the readers. 

Everybody Writes, By Ann Handley

Unlike any other book in this list, Everybody Writes by Ann Handley focuses on content creation and social media content such as blogs. This book relates directly to modern-day writing more than novel creation. In this book, Handley posits that everyone on social media who creates blogs and owns their website dedicated to this work is essentially a writer. She says it is important now more than ever to know the basic laws of grammar. She provides advice on becoming a successful blog writer and writing pieces that would increase traffic and engage consumers so much that they perhaps revisit the website or subscribe to the particular blog. She also holds that it is important for writers to write content in an empathetic tone to feel connected to it. 

Writing Tools, By Roy Peter Clarke

As the name would suggest, this book focuses on the techniques and tools that one can use while writing. The author here mentions that while it is important to observe the basic grammar rules, it is also true that these rules can be bent here and there to make your work more colloquial. But while doing so, what is more necessary is to know how to write coherent pieces. If all you know is grammar and vocabulary, but not the tools and techniques to make your story a coherent piece of writing, then you would end up with a mess. To avoid that, every writer must use every single method at his disposal and learn these well to make a cogent article. 

Dreyer’s English, By Benjamin Dreyer

Written by the most celebrated publisher of all time and social media’s language guru Benjamin Dreyer, this book is the ultimate guide for grammar. Not only strict adherence to the laws but also how you can bend them. This book is handy for editors, and it motivates them to use language boldly. He illustrates how and why it is okay to use language in certain ways that were earlier thought of as incorrect. His witty and funny tone adds to making this book interesting while keeping it informative and useful for those who want to learn how to write. 

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, By Natalie Goldberg

Especially helpful during that time when every writer feels stuck in a rut or feels the absence of any inspiration or stimulus to keep him going, Goldberg’s book comes as a fresh breath of air. Filled with advice about perfect places to find inspiration, getting your creative juices flowing, and just powering through the rut, this book is full of motivation and encouragement. Not only this, but it also contains practical advice on the usage and application of grammar and how it can turn your writing from regular to fantastic. Her wisdom of language and zen modes of inspiration finding is the perfect combination for writers everywhere. If you want to find a book that nurtures and informs, this is the one to beat. 

Several Short Sentences About Writing, By Verlyn Klinkenborg

This book poses a challenge to the stereotypes that go with novel writing. It challenges the many misconceptions around book writing and focuses on the power of short and precise sentences. One of the ideas that jump out is how people have generally correlated the idea of a lengthy sentence being smart and a short sentence not so much. In this book, he argues that it is the precision of writing that makes your content smart and intelligent, not the length of your sentences. For those who use many filler words to make sentences longer, thinking that they would seem intelligent, this book is here to prove you wrong. 

A Passion for Narrative: A Guide for Writing Fiction, By Jack Hodgins

Focusing on fiction writing, this book is more like a practical course on how to master the various aspects of novel writing. Each chapter is made like a separate section focusing on several aspects, including how to start, plot building, finding your voice, character development, and much more. Each of these aspects has been expertly handled in this book, accompanied by inspiring quotes and advice from various famous authors, followed by practice exercises to enable readers to apply their newly acquired knowledge to use and even a list of other helpful books the aspects. So in case, you feel like you need help with plot building, you can not only use information from this book but even get a list of other helpful books written on plot building. 

Write Tight: Say Exactly What You Mean With Precision and Power, By William Brohaugh

While many authors press the importance of making your content precise and interesting, William Brohaugh in this book shines the light on how you can actually achieve that. It contains all the know-how of the craft of making precise, intelligent, and engaging writing to keep your content free of redundancy. He emphasizes the importance and methods of creating crisp and well-written pieces, avoiding repetition, and overall bettering content. 


These are some of the most recommended books for aspiring writers, editors, publishers, social media creators, and even readers interested in writing mechanics. Whether you are looking to create your own work or understand how a writer’s mind works, these books are must-reads to appreciate their efforts better. This, however, is a concise list, and there is a pool of similar amazing works by various well-known authors that a lot of well-known writers swear by. There also are particular books that provide specific advice about writing specific genres and even books that give you a list of possible places to showcase or reach out to to get your work published. Whatever your goal is, there are many self-help books out there that will answer your questions and give you opportunities to grow as a writer. 

Must-Read Books to Become a Writer

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