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Books to Inspire the Writer in Your Life

Looking for the perfect gift to inspire the writer in your life? Check out our list of great books chosen by writers for writers.

Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer (1st edition) by Roy Peter Clark

Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer is an excellent mix of reference and inspiration for writers of just about any genre. The author, Roy Peter Clark, is a writing coach and senior scholar at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, a journalism think-tank, and is the founder of the National Writers Workshop. In this book, Clark offers tools to help writers strengthen their craft and their chances of getting published. The book also offers examples from literature and journalism to show these writing tools in action.

On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft Paperback – Special Edition by Stephen King

Few modern writers are as prolific and successful as Stephen King, which is why his half biography/half how-to-manual, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, is such a great read. In it, he talks about the basic tools of his trade, including how and why a writer should always have them on hand, so it's highly informative. He also has a lot of inspirational advice for writers dealing with rejection and trying to set positive and productive work habits in their daily writing practice.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life 1st Edition, Kindle Edition by Anne Lamot

Bird by Bird offers a lot of personal anecdotes and inspirational words based on the experiences of Anne Lamot, an American novelist and non-fiction writer whose biting wit and self-depreciating humor will appeal to many writers. Beyond telling the story of her own writing inspiration and processes, she also discusses the challenges and multiple drafts that often go into getting published. A great example of her style and approach is the following quote taken from Bird by Bird:

Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It's like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can't stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.

Anne Lamot

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within Paperback  by Natalie Goldberg

Natalie Goldberg is an American author and speaker who is best known for her books that explore the process of writing as Zen practice. Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within is part of that exploration. Her approach is sometimes comical, sometimes practical, and always insightful as she offers encouragement and advice to writers looking to perfect their craft. Here's a great example:

We are important and our lives are important, magnificent really, and their details are worthy to be recorded. This is how writers must think, this is how we must sit down with pen in hand. We were here; we are human beings; this is how we lived. Let it be known, the earth passed before us. Our details are important. Otherwise, if they are not, we can drop a bomb and it doesn't matter… Recording the details of our lives is a stance against bombs with their mass ability to kill, against too much speed and efficiency. A writer must say yes to life, to all of life: the water glasses, the Kemp's half-and-half, the ketchup on the counter.

Natalie Goldberg

Writer's Market 2018: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published (97th Edition)

The Writer's Market is an indispensable resource for writers looking for publishing opportunities—from book publishing to writing contests to everything in between. It contains an extensive list of the contact information of book publishers, magazines, awards and contests, and literary agents, along with a brief description of each. Indexed by subject, each listing also includes valuable information such as submission guidelines and whether the publication prefers solicited or unsolicited entries. This new edition goes even further and includes information about the business of writing—from marketing and developing your author brand, to writing better query letters to increase your chances of acceptance. It also includes exclusive access to the webinar "Funding Your Writing Career" from C. Hope Clark, founder of

Wired for Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence by Lisa Cron

Taking a different approach than the many "self-help" books on the market available for writers, in Wired for Story, author Lisa Cron focuses on how writers tap into the evolutionary purpose of storytelling, and how the human brain is wired for hearing tales. Approaching this topic in great depth, including recent breakthroughs in neuroscience, Cron reveals a process to storytelling that is as old as the art itself, and how authors can tap into that for modern audiences. Any writer will have to agree that it is an interesting angle to the art of writing, especially when Cron discusses what triggers dopamine rushes, how we are hardwired to need to know what's next, and how the human brain experiences a story.

Roget's Thesaurus of Words for Writers: Over 2,300 Emotive, Evocative, Descriptive Synonyms, Antonyms, and Related Terms Every Writer Should Know by David Olsen  et al.

Roget's Thesaurus has been a trusted name as a writing resource since 1852. However, Roget's Thesaurus of Words for Writers goes a step beyond the well-loved thesaurus. Part thesaurus, part phrase book, this resource is the perfect way for writers to find the right word when it's on the tip of their tongue (or fingers, as the case may be). Each word or phrase listing includes a pronunciation guide, definition, antonyms, synonyms, and a sample sentence using it in context. When inspiration is lacking or a writer feels stuck in a pattern, it's a great way to find new words that sound fresh and unique to add impressive variety to any portfolio.

Romance Writer's Phrase Book: The Essential Source Book for Every Romantic Novelist by Jean Kent and Candace Shelton

Danielle Steel, Nicholas Sparks, Nora Roberts—the top-selling contemporary romance writers know how to make their audience fall in love over and over again with characters that come to life within the pages of their novels. And they do it with modern plots and words that go beyond the stereotypical passionate language of romance novels in the past. With phrases tagged for categories like physical description, facial expressions, voices, sex, body movements, eyes, and emotions, The Romantic Writer's Phrase Book is an indispensable resource for writers seeking to write the next bestselling romance novel.

Action Writers' Phrase Book: Essential Reference for All Authors of Action, Adventure & Thrillers (Writers' Phrase Books) (Volume 3) by Jackson Dean Chase

If your goal is to write a great action novel, Jackson Dead Chase's Action Writers' Phrase Book will shoot writer's block out of the water with over 2,000 listings for describing weapons, wounds, explosions, and more. Whether your weapons and battles are historical, contemporary, or futuristic, this resource will help you make sure your descriptions are accurate and believable. Chase has also written the Post-Apocalypse Writers' Phrase Book and Horror Writers' Phrase Book for writers interested in publishing within those genres

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman

While there are hundreds of phrasebooks and writers' thesauri on the market, The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman really breaks down characterization and emotion for authors wishing to build both into their story. Ackerman is a writing coach, international speaker, and co-author of six bestselling books for writers. Her books are available in six languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. Ackerman is also co-founder of Writers Helping Writers as well as One Stop for Writers, an innovative online library built to help writers elevate their storytelling.

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