Books About Writing By Writers, For Writers

There are so many people out there telling you how to write. Style is great, grammar is king and knowing how to “Write your book in 30 days” sounds kind of like a diet pill that promises you’ll look like a Victoria Secret Model in time for beach season.

But when it comes down to it, we don’t always want to be lectured on about grammar, structure and spelling. Sometimes we want to know that there are struggles that even the greats deal with.

Here are five of my favorite books on writing by some of my favorite writers that cover everything from style to how the hell Stephen King can pump out such amazing stories so regularly…all the way to how Neil Gaiman can recreate modern mythology.

Neil Gaiman: View from the Cheap Seats

An enthralling collection of nonfiction essays on myriad topics—from art and artists to dreams, myths, and memories—observed in Neil Gaiman’s probing, amusing, and distinctive style.

Stephen King: On Writing

Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported near-fatal accident in 1999 — and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring. Long live the king!

Bird By Bird: Anne Lamott

With this basic instruction always in mind, Anne Lamott returns to offer us a new gift: a step-by-step guide on how to write and on how to manage the writer’s life. From “Getting Started,’ with “Short Assignments,” through “Shitty First Drafts,” “Character,” “Plot,” “Dialogue.” all the way from “False Starts” to “How Do You Know When You’re Done?” Lamott encourages, instructs, and inspires. She discusses “Writers Block,” “Writing Groups,” and “Publication.” Bracingly honest, she is also one of the funniest people alive.

The Paris Review Interviews

The Paris Review has elicited some of the most revelatory and revealing thoughts from the literary masters of our age. For more than half a century, the magazine has spoken with most of our leading novelists, poets, and playwrights, and the interviews themselves have come to be recognized as classic works of literature, an essential and definitive record of the writing life.

Zen in the Art of Writing: Ray Bradburn

More than just a how-to manual for the would-be writer: it is a celebration of the act of writing itself that will delight, impassion, and inspire the writer in you. Bradbury encourages us to follow the unique path of our instincts and enthusiasms to the place where our inner genius dwells, and he shows that success as a writer depends on how well you know one subject: your own life.

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