Books about writing.

on October 1, 2010 in AnnieWrites, I heart books. with 17 comments by

I love to read.

You know that by now.

But I’m not a picky reader.

I love magazines [like Real Simple],

our book club books [currently: I Am the Messenger],

and teen fiction that I’m probably too old to read but end up absolutely loving [The Hunger Games].

Fiction. Non-fiction. You name it, I’ll read it.

[Except horror books. Or sexy books. Or sexy horror books.]

But one genre that I am enjoying so so much is literature about writing. I don’t think I’ll ever be a writer who writes about writing, but I’m grateful that some of my favorite writers write about writing.

[Say that three times fast.]

In the writing genre, here are a few of my favorites:

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I’m not a massive fan of all of her stuff, but this was the first writing book I ever read and it did a lot to shape the start of my career.

Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L’Engle. This book is like a warm soy chai on a cool morning on a porch.

On Writing Well by William Zinsser. A classic.

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. This one is new to me thanks to my new favorite blogista Kelle Hampton. I’ve read three chapters and it has already changed my writing habits and I’ve had four conversations about what I’ve read.

So. It’s a good book.

I know there are tons more great books on writing or art or creativity. Do you have a favorite book of this type that I didn’t mention?

You know I’ll read it. I’m a total sucker for those cute 26 letters and all the ways they combine.


  1. posted on Oct 01, 2010 at 8:20 AM  |  reply

    I love all these writing books too! Madeleine L’Engle’s writing makes me melt. Love her.

    On Writing by Stephen King is great. I have never read any of his other books~ feeling pretty certain I wouldn’t like them due to the HORROR~ but THIS one is excellent!

  2. posted on Oct 01, 2010 at 8:24 AM  |  reply

    I am not a writer, but I’m sure my older sister, the English degree holder, would have something to say about this. But she doesn’t read blogs, so I’ll just tell her. She’s a blog-hater. And literature-snob. But I love her.

    And I’m pretty sure that “…those cute 26 letters and all the ways they combine.” is the most fantastic description for words, I’ve ever heard.

    Happy Friday!

  3. posted on Oct 01, 2010 at 8:26 AM  |  reply

    Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner. It’s her memoir (which could be my favorite genre) about converting to Orthodox Judaism and then to Christianity. I have read it 4 or 5 times in the few years since I first read it. She’s smart, she’s honest, she’s human, and she has a short chapter in there called “The Pairing Knife” that I read over and over again when I feel like I’m pressing at the edge of my skin.

    And I am currently reading it again.

  4. posted on Oct 01, 2010 at 8:36 AM  |  reply

    Stephen King’s “On Writing” is the best book I’ve ever read on, well, writing. The man is an insanely gifted writer. Definitely, definitely, definitely read it.

    Listen to your Annie.

  5. Jane Scott
    posted on Oct 01, 2010 at 8:52 AM  |  reply

    Annie- you would like Lauren Winner(Whitney suggested) Our relationships retreat 5 years ago was called the Real Sex retreat after her book Real Sex which was her perspective about sex as a single,non- believer. . .and then how God redeemed it for her. I got to sit in on a teaching she did about the Sabbath at a Wesley conference a couple of years ago. Anyway, I like Narnia and the Shire. Give me those places and I’m a happy girl. I am currently in a bind b/c I just finished the Chronicles of Narnia and I need something mindless to read that won’t keep me up all night! Any suggestions?

  6. posted on Oct 01, 2010 at 9:23 AM  |  reply

    i love that last sentence! “I’m a total sucker for those cute 26 letters and all the ways they combine.” so clever!

  7. lane
    posted on Oct 01, 2010 at 3:07 PM  |  reply

    Heart of the Artist by Rory Noland!
    It’s all about where we as creative people fit in and find our voice in the greater Body. Ballin.

  8. posted on Oct 02, 2010 at 6:31 PM  |  reply

    ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Madeleine L’Engle’s “Walking on Water” is my FAVORITE book, that’s all.

  9. posted on Oct 03, 2010 at 9:42 PM  |  reply

    The first two are my absolute faves. Another writer friend of mine swears that Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard is the most inspirational book on writing because it teaches you to really see the details in the world. I do love Annie Dillard.

  10. posted on Oct 03, 2010 at 11:02 PM  |  reply

    You can never be too old for teen fiction!

  11. posted on Oct 04, 2010 at 7:57 AM  |  reply

    Sorry, I’ve already commented, 🙂 but I remembered one that is beyond good~ The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

    Those days when you just do not feel inspired to write (or do anything else creative) and want to procrastinate, this book will get you going.

  12. posted on Oct 04, 2010 at 9:34 AM  |  reply

    amen to hootenannie: Stephen King’s On Writing is excellent! The first book on writing I read when I semi-began writing 😉

  13. Yorokobi
    posted on Oct 05, 2010 at 3:36 PM  |  reply

    Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose by Flannery O’Connor is a beautifully written classic on writing – and peacocks.

  14. posted on Oct 06, 2010 at 8:13 AM  |  reply

    I agree with hootenannie–Stephen King’s “On Writing” is a MUST read! I haven’t read anything else he has written (I’m not a horror girl, either), but now I am intrigued, and want to read his “The Stand.” His “On Writing” is half memoir, half wonderfully practical writing guide. Okay, I’ll quit gushing about the book, after I say this last thing 🙂

    I was blown away both by Stephen King himself, and by his writing instruction.

  15. posted on Oct 06, 2010 at 8:42 AM  |  reply

    Okay, I just wanted to say, “Umm, thank you?” I clicked on Kelle Hampton’s beautiful blog, oh about an hour ago now…now, with tears streaming down my face after reading her birth story… Wow. What beautiful, inspiring words, punctuated with beath-taking pictures.

    Reading others’ gut-wrenching, life is real and messy stories sure does inspire me to jump into today with both feet and a whole heart.

    So, really–thank you. 🙂

  16. posted on Feb 21, 2013 at 4:20 PM  |  reply


    I stumbled across your blog from somewhere. One click led to another.

    You’ve offered excellent pointers for those who would write.

    One market I would suggest to your readers is the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. The pay isn’t great, but it can be a great starting place, or, if you’re in the sunset years of a career, a great ending place, as well.

    Kind regards,

  17. Tiffany McRee
    posted on Nov 26, 2013 at 12:52 PM  |  reply

    I’m sure you’ve read “Steal like an Artist” but if not, it is my recommendation.

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