Books on Writing for Everyone

Signature Reads posted a great list of 27 books to help develop as a writer. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a new book for your writing library or want to give a thoughtful gift to another writer in your life.

I’ve written before about why I find “how-to” writing guides helpful, but this post does an excellent job on summing up how important books about writing are:

Writing is, as a general rule, hard. Defining yourself as a writer can be even harder. Sure, there are other difficult practices like law and medicine out there, but a person becomes a lawyer or a doctor when he or she passes a series of exams and graduates from a certain school. Writing doesn’t always work that way. There aren’t tests to study for and facts to memorize. Where are we supposed to learn how to write?

What I like about this list is that it has a great mix of both books on improving the technical aspects of writing and books that read much more like memoirs and reflections from authors on their writing life.

The latter have absolutely been influential on my decision to take my writing life seriously and put the work in necessary to make this so. One of the books on the list that I haven’t read yet, but definitely intend to is Bonnie Friedman’s Writing Past Dark. The blurb from the post told me that this was right up my alley:

Bonnie Friedman’s Writing Past Dark is an emotional and psychological writer’s guide. She doesn’t discuss structure, character, or plot, but rather envy, guilt, and writer’s block. She focuses on the hardships of the writer’s life, drawing from personal anecdotes of her own and of historically famous authors.

What other books on writing, either “how-to” or more memoir-esque, would you recommend?

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