You know, the best thing to do if you want to be a writer is write. Everyone knows this. Everyone says this. It’s undeniably true. Write longhand. Write on a word processor. Keep a blog. Keep a paper journal. Keep three or four blogs or paper journals. Do your kid’s English Writing Comp homework for him–you get the practice, and you get to stop listening to him whine about it. (Just kidding on that last one. Mostly.)
The second best thing to do if you want to be a writer is to read. A lot. Mostly the kinds of writing that you’d like to write yourself.
But that said, people always ask me what books on writing I recommend. This is a little hard for me, because quite frankly, I don’t read a lot of books on writing. I’d rather just write. Or read books that I wish I’d written.
So anyway, here is a list of books on writing that I think are worth reading during one of those moments when you’re not writing. Or reading good writing. Or hassling your kid about his tendency to use passive tense.
- Anything by Julia Cameron. I like The Right to Write, but I’m told that
The Artist’s Way is also excellent.
- On Writing by Stephen King.
- Elements of Style by Strunk & White
- Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
Okay, that’s five books. Admit it–if you read all five of them in the next six months, it would mean that you weren’t writing enough. Even so, if you know of a “can’t miss it, must be on the list” book, drop it in the comments.
Now, get back to writing!