Recommended Books on WRITING

YUP, Another Book List

Below is a list of books I've read relating to WRITING. The links are affiliated to various sites which help me continue to update this site – I hope you enjoy 🙂

If you're stoked or curious about one of these titles, send me a DM on Instagram and we can nerd out.

Julia Cameron

“Do not expect your (creatively) blocked friends to applaud your recovery. That's like expecting your best friends from the bar to celebrate your sobriety. How can they when their own drinking is something that they want to hold onto?”

Why this is recommended

  • Perfect for getting started and not knowing where to begin
  • Is a guided 12 week course that is all journeyed through writing “morning pages”.
  • Will stoke/aid in recovering your repressed creative fire no matter your artistic medium of choice

Listen to this episode if you want to learn more from my & guest's personal experiences.

Natalie Goldberg

“Trust in what you love, continue to do it, and it will take you to where you need to go. And don't worry too much about security. You will eventually have a deep security when you begin to do what you want. How many of us with our big salaries are actually secure anyway?”

Why this is recommended

  • Perfect place to land after leaving the security of the guided Artist's Way
  • Forward written by Julia Cameron (seal of approval)
  • Very digestible tiny bites of how to manage/approach the psychology of writing challenges
  • Teaches you to appreciate the power of volume

William Zinsser

“Writing is not a special language owned by the English teacher. Writing is thinking on paper. Anyone who thinks clearly can write clearly, about anything at all.”

Why this is recommended​

  • Highly referenced “manual” on writing, anything
  • Pre-requisite if you plan on writing for public consumption
  • Covers Principles, Forms, Methods, and Attitudes

Ryan Holiday

“Focus on the things that don't change..

You can't make something that lasts if it's based on things, on individual parts that themselves won't last, or if it's driven by an amateur's impatience.”

Why this is recommended​

  • Learn how to create something that will last, dig deep enough to skip the trends & fads
  • Understand the creative and marketing process of one of the greats. Because what good is your book (art), if no one knows it exists?

Steven Pressfield

“Suspending self-judgment doesn't just mean blowing off the “you suck” voice in our heads. It also means liberating ourselves from conventional expectations – from what we think our work “ought” to be or “should” look like.”

Why this is recommended

  • Understand all the angles and strategies for dealing with and conquering Resistance
  • Pairs well with War of Art & Icarus Deception

Austin Kleon

“If you have one person you're influenced by, everyone will say you are the next whoever. But if you rip off 100 people, everyone will say you're so original!”

Why this is recommended

  • Whether you can admit it or not, everything you do comes from something that came before you..
  • So you may as well get good at it
  • Fun, easy, and very informative

Jim Edwards

“The best copywriting occurs when people don't realize it's copy because it's interesting to them.”

Why this is recommended

  • If you want to sell an idea, you have to know how to sell it; either in your writing or when promoting it
  • Will expose you to many of the tricks that have probably been played on you, “know thy enemy”

Roy Peter Clark

“The notion that new knowledge derives from old wisdom should liberate the writer from a scrupulous fear of snatching the words of others.”

Why this is recommended

  • Learn from Senior Scholar at the Poynter Institute in St Pete, FL
  • Read 1 strategy per day, only 2-3 pages per
  • Brilliant bite-sized guidance with examples and workshop tips for improving
  • Reference once a year, references On Writing Well

John McPhee

“Readers are not supposed to notice the structure. It is meant to be about as visible as someone's bones.”

Why this is recommended

  • Learn from a renowned 30 year staff writer of the New Yorker
  • Not written in bullets, he guides you on a journey using the writing techniques he's teaching, through story (it's so worth it in the end when this all comes together)

Steven Pressfield

“There's a secret that real riders know that want to be writers don't, and the secret is this: it's not the writing part that's hard. What's hard is sitting down to write.

What keeps us from sitting down is resistance.”

Why this is recommended

  • Writer's Block, Fear of Failure, Imposter Syndrome (click to hear episode), Living a Life that is not true to you… and just so you can avoid doing that which calls your soul? This book will change your life.
  • Learn about and develop a respect for Resistance and the Muse
  • Understand the other side of the Resistance argument, noted in Icarus Deception

Seth Godin

“The most rational thing to do is the irrational work of art. Seek out questions, not answers.”

Why this is recommended

  • Not writing specific, focuses on what and how to produce “your” art in today's world
  • Understsand the connection economy and the psychology of your audience
  • Learn how to deal with rejection
  • Directly calls out and opposes the theories in War of Art, so critical to hear the other side of Resistance

Donald Miller

“You'll see some form of this structure in nearly every movie you watch from here on out. The seven basic plot points are like chords of music in the sense that you can use them to create an infinite variety of narrative expression.”

Why this is recommended

  • Bit of a marketing book, but also a very simple guide/introduction into the Hero's Journey (see Hero with a Thousand Faces)
  • It will teach you how to build a story your reader/viewer can see themself in and then apply to your writing/art

Joseph Campbell

“The ultimate aim of the quest must be neither release nor ecstasy for oneself, but the wisdom in the power to serve others.

One of the many distinctions between the celebrity and the hero, he said, is that one lives only for self while the other acts to redeem society.”

Why this is recommended

  • The perfect intro into the world of Mythology, Archetypes, and Symbolism
  • Teaches you to look at life/story as metaphorical over literal (it's a superpower)
  • It is critical to understand how humans respond to words and symbols of meaning, throughout history and today

Joseph Campbell

“.. – symbolic expression is given to the unconscious desires, fears, and tensions that underlie the conscious patterns of human behavior. Mythology, in other words, is psychology misread as biography, history, and cosmology.”

Why this is recommended

  • A deep dive into the research and life's work that brought us “The Hero's Journey”
  • Officially noted as the book that inspired George Lucas to write STAR WARS

Roy Peter Clark

“Words have denotations – their literal meanings – but also connotations, which are their associative meanings… There is no better way to illustrate this than through colors.”

Why this is recommended

  • Another brilliant piece by RPC, learn from a master
  • Breaks down notable pieces of literature down to the mechanical parts that make them
  • Each chapter is a review of a different story/author, ie Great Gatsby, Sylvia Plath

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