Library Blog

Learn to be a Writer: Books on Learning and Honing the Craft of Writing

If you are hoping to learn more about writing, or to improve on the skills you already have, why not look to the experts to provide you with guidance on developing the craft? Check out these titles by some great writers for insight and inspiration…










On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft – Stephen King

On Writing is the first book Stephen King wrote after his near-death experience at the hands of a hit and run accident involving a van. The master storyteller gives a practical view of the writing craft, revealing the basic tools every writer should have in his or her toolbox. His writing advice stems from his personal experiences as a struggling writer who was dismissed and written off by his writing instructors in college and his vivid childhood memories. What makes this book on writing unique is the way it is written: this book combines practical instruction and advice with a compelling story that will keep you engaged.
In the final chapters, King tells in graphic detail the story of his accident. His wife Tabitha helped him set up a wheelchair accessible desk five weeks after his surgery and encouraged him to write. King’s love for writing along with his family are what he credits to saving his life.


Available for download in our digital catalog on OverDrive or for reserve through our traditional Catalog.











On Writing – Charles Bukowski

Through a collection of previously unpublished letters, writings, and other correspondence with agents, editors, friends, and fellow writers, Bukowski sheds light on what he calls his “pleasant disease”: the art of creative writing. In this book Bukowski is brutally direct about the drudgery of work, and how writing should not feel like work. He also highlights the intensity of his isolation from others and shows a fiery passion for writing that is lacking in a lot of modern authors. Graphic and often crude, this book isn’t for everyone but does bring an interesting take to the writing trade from a celebrated, if divisive author.

Available for reserve in our traditional Catalog.














Zen in the Art of Writing – Ray Bradbury

World famous science fiction author Ray Bradbury shares his experience, tips, and advice drawn from a lifetime of writing. Bradbury gives practical advice to prospective writers on such necessities as coming up with original ideas and developing your own voice and style of writing, as well as celebrating the craft of writing that is passionate and inspiring. This collection of nine essays touch on why he became a writer and what being a writer means to him. Bradbury also tends to focus on the positives of writing, the fun and enjoyment he gets out of it, rather than the drudgery of writing for a living.


Available for reserve in our traditional Catalog.










Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott writes candidly in her book on writing instruction about how writing is a labor of love. A writing teacher and author of several novels, Lamott’s first piece of advice in her book is to not focus on the unfinished novel or other writing in front of you, but instead to turn your attention to the anecdote or description or particular passage you are mulling over currently. Once you type something or write it, she urges you to repeat this process several times.
Lamott gives this advice because she says that every writer, whether they are a best seller or a novice, writes terrible first drafts. And that’s okay, because they act as the building blocks or stones to a better, more successful story hiding within. Writing is a tough process, and most things will never be published. This isn’t the point, according to Lamott. Writing can be a therapeutic process, a healing process that helps the writer grow as a person.


Available for reserve in our traditional Catalog.


Additional resources

More lists of highly recommended books on writing:

The Write Life – 26 of the Best Books on Writing

Penguin Random House – The Best Books on Writing

Barnes & Noble – 10 Books to Read Before Writing Your Novel –







Chris is an adult librarian with the PLYMC. He enjoys reading, particularly science fiction and psychological thrillers, hiking, being outdoors, and watching cat and dog videos.