Books That Teach Us How to Write and Unleash Our Creativity

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Books That Teach Us How to Write and Unleash Our Creativity

Izzy Smith

Not all Dean Publishing authors want to be writers; some value the help of professional writers to help them craft their message into a book. Other Dean Publishing authors, however, want to hone their writing skills and incorporate being a writer into their career. We’ve curated a list of recommended books, hand-selected by our professional writing and editing team, that have helped us develop as writers and editors and can help you too.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life – Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott gives us a step-by-step guide to writing and the writing life. Lamott discusses getting started, short assignments, shitty first drafts, character, plot, dialogue, false starts, knowing when you’re done, writers’ block, writing groups and publication. If you want to know more about what it means to be a writer and how to survive as an artist, Anne Lamott will tell you everything you need.

First You Write a Sentence: The Elements of Reading, Writing… And Life – Professor Joe Moran

Professor Joe Moran tells us how anyone can write well and enjoy good writing. Sentences are the common ground of all writing, and making them the best they can be is the first step to writing well. Moran shows us how to write in a clear, compelling way that brings words to life.

Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer – Roy Peter Clark

Roy Peter Clark, one of the most influential American writing teachers, gives us a toolbox and practical inspiration for learning the craft of writing. Clark gives us basic and complex tools, and with more than 200 literature and journalism examples to illustrate them. Clark’s tools are both memorable and useful.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear – Elizabeth Gilbert

Bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert inspires us to be creative in Big Magic. Gilbert’s insights into the nature of inspiration drive readers to embrace curiosity and release suffering, and she looks at the attitudes, approaches and habits that can drive the most creative life possible.

The Elements of Style – Strunk, White & Kalman

The Elements of Style is a classic for writers and editors. With wit, tone and charm, Strunk, White and Kalman share the principles of English style that make writing the best it can be. The rules and tips about usage, composition and form are invaluable for authors and editors, helping us all to communicate more effectively.

The Forest for the Trees – Betsy Lerner

A book based on looking at the big picture rather than getting bogged down in the details, The Forest for the Trees is an essential for editors and authors. Lerner is insightful and entertaining while she coaches her readers through inspiration, reviews, productivity, and getting published.

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

Steven Pressfield looks at the forms of resistance artists face, and how to break through creative barriers. It inspires and supports writers who feel like expressing creativity is difficult, and offers ways to overcome resistance, the greatest enemy in pursuing our creative goals.

Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work – Steven Pressfield

In Steven Pressfield’s follow-up to The Art of War, he shows readers how to defeat resistance. While The Art of War looks at overcoming resistance and getting started, Turning Pro looks at the difference between a novice writer and a pro writer – and how to get to the pro stage.

Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You – Ray Bradbury

Zen in the Art of Writing is a celebration of writing as well as a how-to guide. Gusto, zest, curiosity and a spirit of adventure are what all writers must have. Ray Bradbury shares his wisdom, excitement and experience gained from writing for a lifetime. He shares practical tips on the art of writing, including developing your style and voice and finding original ideas, as well as his own stories about his writing career.

On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction – William Zinsser

On Writing Well is a definitive guide to writing nonfiction. Zinsser gives sound advice, clarity and a warm style for anyone who wants to write. Regardless of what you want to write about, Zinsser provides a valuable guide to fundamental principles of writing and this text is a useful resource for any writer.

Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere) – Lisa Cron

Liza Cron illustrates how to utilise cognitive storytelling strategies to build the best blueprint for a captivating story. Throughout her career as a story coach, Cron has discovered a powerful writing method, based on what our brains crave in the stories we read, and takes us through it step-by-step.

The Artist’s Journey: The Wake of the Hero’s Journey and the Lifelong Pursuit of Meaning – Steven Pressfield

You are an artist, and you have an artist’s journey. Artists on this journey move past resistance and self-sabotage to be our true selves and discover our authentic calling. When we’re on this journey, we produce the works we are meant to share with the world.

The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers – Chris Vogler

In The Writer’s Journey, Chris Vogler, a renowned Hollywood story consultant, shows us his vision. Vogler shows us how storytelling has evolved in human history and ritual, and how the infinite and undeniable power of storytelling can be used to write our stories today.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft – Stephen King

Stephen King’s mix of masterclass and memoir is a practical and revealing insight into the craft of writing. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft gives readers understanding of the tools of the writing trade, his emergence as a writer, and his experiences of life. King’s inspiring style entertains and empowers.

Do the Work: Overcome Resistance and Get Out of Your Own Way – Steven Pressfield

Writing and creating aren’t always about your ideas – they’re about doing the work, and Steven Pressfield shows you how. It’s about taking action, from the start to the finish of long-form projects, including overcoming resistance points along the way.

Rebel Without a Clause – Sue Butler

Sue Butler’s Rebel Without a Clause is a unique and fascinating journey through the words we use. The English language is constantly changing as we invent new words, misappropriate, misuse, and mash up words to create new phrases and idioms. As a lexicographer and former editor of the Macquarie Dictionary, Butler has the knowledge we all want and need to expand and take advantage of our vocabularies.

Pity the Reader: On Writing with Style – Kurt Vonnegut & Suzanne McConnell

Iconic American writer Kurt Vonnegut said, “Practicing an art form is a way to grow your soul,” and Pity the Reader: On Writing with Style is an epitome of this connection between writing and life. Vonnegut shares how he became a writer and why that matters, and we get stories about Vonnegut as a teacher and friend. Pity the Reader is full of teachable moments.

On Revision: The Only Writing that Counts – William Germano

The most critical stage of writing is revising it. Rewriting is about making your writing better – but how do you know when it’s finished and how do you get there? Germano, a trusted editor, gives writers an understanding of this process. Revising is about seeing things again, listening to yourself, and rethinking your why. He encourages us to look at the big picture.

Nobody Wants to Read Your Shit: Why That is and What You Can Do About It – Steven Pressfield

“Nobody wants to read your shit” is painful to hear, but it’s the advice that authors need to hear. Pressfield helps authors develop an understanding of the reader and what they want.

The Writer’s Room: Conversations About Writing – Charlotte Wood

Charlotte Wood’s conversations about writing bring us inspiration, joy and worthwhile advice. It’s essential reading for writers and booklovers, as Wood interviews well-known and loved writers about how they work, their successes and their failures.

Ten Things About Writing – Joanne Harris

Ten Things About Writing is an invaluable guide to the writing craft and the publishing business. Harris’ entertaining lists of advice give readers wisdom and industry experience while she discusses story development and the writing process. Harris informs us about all stages of the writing and publishing process in Ten Things About Writing.

Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Loves Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them – Francine Prose

How do writers learn to write? Francine Prose gives us an inside look at how professionals read and write. Prose’s guide of the tools and signature styles used by writing masters and icons demonstrates why these authors have prevailed – and how they can guide you.

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