Here are some books which we find to be helpful to writers interested in learning more about the craft.
Keep in mind that each author speaks from his or her experience, and each writer's experience is individual. What is helpful to one writer might not be helpful to another. Some writers swear by their writers' groups, and some authors aren't productive unless they have extreme solitude.
These books are designed to get writers back to writing. Don't let reading become a distraction. Go back to the blank page and continue to write. Keep getting the words out even if what comes out seems awful. (Hey, look at the bright side, if the writing seems that awful, then it can only get better. With practice it will.) There are plenty of exercises in these books to jumpstart blocked writers. Don't let procrastination be an excuse.
These titles are organized alphabetically by author within categories.
General Writing Helps
WRITING FROM THE HEART: Tapping the Power of Your Inner Voice by Nancy Slonim Aronie THE ARTIST'S WAY by Julia Cameron THE RIGHT TO WRITE: An Invitation And Initiation Into The Writing Life by Julia Cameron WRITING TOOLS: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark NOVELIST'S ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO CREATING PLOT by J. Madison Davis FINDING YOUR WRITER'S VOICE: A Guide To Creative Fiction by Thaisa Frank and Dorothy Wall ROOM TO WRITE: Daily Invitations To A Writer's Life by Bonni Goldberg WRITING DOWN THE BONES by Natalie Goldberg WILD MIND by Natalie Goldberg HARVESTING YOUR JOURNALS: Writing Tools To Enhance Your Growth and Creativity by Roaslie Deer Heart and Alison Strickland THE WRITER'S IDEA BOOK by Jack Heffron THE COURAGE TO WRITE: How Writers Transcend Fear by Ralph Keyes DOJO WISDOM FOR WRITERS: 100 Simple Ways to Become a More Inspired, Successful, and Fearless Writer by Jennifer Lawler THE CAREER NOVELIST by Don Maass WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL: Insider Advice For Taking Your Fiction To the Next Level by Don Maass LET THE CRAZY CHILD WRITE!: Finding Your Creative Writing Voice by Clive Matson A WRITER'S BOOK OF DAYS: A Spirited Companion & Lively Muse for the Writing Life by Judy Reeves THE WRITING GROUP BOOK: Creating and Sustaining a Successful Writing Groupedited by Lisa Rosenthal ON WRITING WELL by William Zinsser
Life as a Writer
FOR WRITERS ONLY: Inspiring Thoughts On The Exquisite Pain And Heady Joy Of The Writing Life From Its Great Practitioners by Sophy Burnham THE WRITING LIFE by Annie Dillard ON WRITING: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott SURVIVING A WRITER'S LIFE by Suzanne Lipsett CONVERSATIONS ON WRITING FICTION: Interviews with 13 Distinguished Teachers of Fiction Writing In America by Alexander Neubauer
SAVE THE CAT WRITES A NOVEL by Jessica Brody IMMEDIATE FICTION: A Complete Writing Course by Jerry Cleaver GETTING INTO CHARACTER: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn from Actors by Brandilyn Collins 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) by Lisa Cron HOW TO WRITE A DAMN GOOD NOVEL: A Step-By-Step No Nonsense Guide To Dramatic Storytelling by James N. Frey TALKING ABOUT DETECTIVE FICTION by P.D. James WRITING DEEP SCENES: Plotting Your Story Through Action, Emotion, and Theme by Martha Alderson and Jordan Rosenfeld SUBSTANCE, STRUCTURE, STYLE, AND THE PRINCIPLES OF SCREENWRITING by Robert McKee READING LIKE A WRITER: A Guide For People Who Love Books And For Those Who Want To Write Them by Francine Prose WRITERS HELPING WRITERS SERIES by Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman THE WEEKEND NOVELIST: A Dynamic 52-Week Program To Help You Produce A Finished Novel One Week At A Time by Robert J. Ray IF YOU CAN TALK, YOU CAN WRITE by Joel Saltzman THE SCENE BOOK: A Primer for the Fiction Writer by Sandra Scofield HOW TO GROW A NOVEL: The Most Common Mistakes Writers Make and How to Overcome Them by Sol Stein STEIN ON WRITING by Sol Stein THE WRITER'S JOURNEY by Christopher Vogler CHANGES: Readings For Writers by Jean Withrow, Gay Brookes, and Martha Clark Cummings
Non-Fiction & Memoir
THINKING LIKE YOUR EDITOR: How to Write Great Serious Nonfiction-- and Get It Published by Susan Rabiner and Alfred Fortunato WRITING FROM WITHIN: A Guide To Creativity And Life Story Writing by Bernard Selling WRITING YOUR LIFE: Putting Your Past On Paper by Lou Willett Stanek FOLLOW THE STORY: How To Write Successful Nonfiction by James Stewart INVENTING THE TRUTH: The Art And Craft Of Memoir edited by William Zinsser
CREATING CHARACTERS KIDS WILL LOVE by Elaine Marie Alphin WILD THINGS! Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature: Acts of Mischief in Children's Literature by Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and Peter Sieruta THE ART OF WRITING FOR CHILDREN: Skills And Techniques of The Craft by Connie Epstein STORY STARTERS: A Creativity Guide for Children's Writers by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones BLOOD ON THE FOREHEAD: What I Know About Writing by M. E. Kerr THE MAGIC WORDS: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults by Cheryl Klein IT'S A BUNNY-EAT-BUNNY WORLD: A Writer's Guide To Surviving And Thriving In Today's Competitive Children's Book Market by Olga Litowinsky HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S BOOK AND GET IT PUBLISHED by Barbara Seuling WRITER'S AND ILLUSTRATOR'S GUIDE TO CHILDREN'S BOOK PUBLISHERS AND AGENTS by Ellen Shapiro WRITING FOR CHILDREN by Catherine Woolley (aka Jane Thayer) GUIDE TO WRITING FOR CHILDREN by Jane Yolen
Creativity & Productivity
FLOW: The Psychology Of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi CREATIVITY by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi SHOW YOUR WORK: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon WALKING ON ALLIGATORS: A Book of Meditations for Writers by Susan Shaughnessy
HOW TO WRITE A BOOK PROPOSAL by Michael Larsen LITERARY AGENTS by Michael Larsen THE SHORTEST DISTANCE BETWEEN YOU AND A PUBLISHED BOOK: 20 Steps to Success by Susan Page ONLINE MARKETING FOR BUSY AUTHORS by Fauzia Burke
Sometimes having a place to write and having specific questions to answer can jumpstart a writer with new ideas, themes, and memories. Some of the books listed below are intended just for casual writers, and some are meant to help a writer (or even a "non-writer") focus and finish a complete text. These enhanced (not just blank or lined pages) journals and journal-writing helps are a good space to retreat for fun or for constructive relaxation-writing time. A journal is meant to be a place where crossing out lines is productive and encouraged, so don't let the pretty pages stop you from exposing your richest self on the page even if you go back and edit.
SIMPLE PLEASURES: A Journal of Life's Joys PEACE: An Illustrated Journal With Quotes TURNING POINTS: A Journal Of New Directions, With Illustrations And Quotes ONE TO ONE: Self-Understanding Through Journal Writing by Christina Baldwin RIP THE PAGE!: Adventures in Creative Writing by Karen Benke THE ARTIST'S WAY MORNING PAGES JOURNAL by Julia Cameron THE STORY OF US: A Journal Of Your Love Story In 150 Questions by David and Kate Marshall A WRITER'S NOTEBOOK: Daily Exercises for the Writing Life by Caroline Sharp