13 Books and Other Tools to be a Better Writer

7 min read

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Books and other tools to help you grow as a writer.

Writing, per some noobs out there who have no idea what they’re talking about, is oh so easy!

Like I said… noobs. Even the best of us out there will tell you how difficult it really is. In fact, the best of the bests will tell you how hard it is to write something moderately decent — something a reader will want to read from top to bottom.

Bloggers, myself included, often do not come to this line of work understanding all that it takes to create content week after week after week, then months and years. When I first started, it took me by surprise how long it took me to write on a topic I thought I knew so well about.

You see, the writing part itself wasn’t difficult. I had written before, of course. Research papers, project reports, etc. But never did I worry so much about whether or not my professors would care to read what I had to write. Professors get paid to read students’ work after all. Thinking back now, I kinda feel sorry for my professors.

But things are different now. My readers do not owe me a thing. In order to hold their attention, I now need to be a good writer. Someone who can hold my readers’ attention by my skill alone. And the quality of my content, relevance, usefulness, etc.

Basically, how I treat the act of writing has made a complete 180-degrees from back when I was in college, writing to pass my classes.

I’m better now. And a lot of it has to do with intentionally learning about writing. Some of the resources that I’m about to list here (especially the books) have helped shape my writing. And the work isn’t even done yet! My writing is still lacking, but if you were to go back and read some of my first blog posts, you’ll be able to spot the difference.

Anyhow, I figured today I’ll share some of the resources and tools with you that have helped me become a better writer. If you’re a new writer, some of these should help. Definitely consider reading the books at least. The rest, well, they’re mostly for vanity. You can skip them if you want to.

Books and Other Tools for Being a Better Writer

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Books for writers

To be a better writer, one must always be a better reader. The books I have linked below are some that have shaped my life as a writer. Consider purchasing them from wherever you buy your books from, or from Amazon (links provided.) You could also check them out from your local public library. However, I recommend you consider purchasing at least the first two books on the list — Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, and On Writing Well by William Zinsser.

Elements of style
Every writer who creates content in English needs to read this book; natives and non-natives alike. Buy a physical copy and make sure it's always within reach.
On Writing Well
This is my favorite book on writing so far. William Zinsser's book helped me realize that a piece of non-fiction need not be dry and textbook-like. Give this book a read; it may just change your life as a writer!
To Show and To Tell
You'll learn a lot if you write personal essays. But really, anyone who has a need for anecdotal samples (us bloggers, for example) in their writing should read Lopate's To Show and To Tell.
Thinking, Fast and Slow
I'm still reading this book, and enjoying what I'm reading. Predominantly, this book is supposed to help one consider the information they consume more critically. And today, in the midst of "fake news" and whatnot, critical thinking is imperative for writers as we add our own voices to this "media" jungle.
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
King's autobiography/writing crash course is a great read. The first half of the book focuses on King's life, while the second half is about the craft of writing itself. Even though King is a novelist, the tips he shares in this book are perfect for essayists and bloggers. I know for sure I've learned a few tricks from this book!
Naked, Drunk, and Writing
Most bloggers today create anecdotal writing. Has to do with feeling connected, and to relate. Adair Lara shows you how to do that best - tell your story, I mean. This books sums up everything you need to know about writing personal essays and anecdotes in under 300 pages. Give it a read!

Learn from the giants

Aside from these books, I would recommend Malcolm Gladwell’s writing course on Masterclass. Gladwell is one of my favorite contemporary essayists and I love how he writes. Listening to him talk about writing and how he approaches his subjects have been a transformational experience for me. But what’s more is that your yearly subscription of Masterclass will not only give you access to Gladwell’s class, but also classes from a lot of great writers like Roxane Gay, Shonda Rhimes, Neil Gaiman, Issa Rae, and more!

Other tools for writers

These next set of tools aren’t necessary for being a better writer, but well, writing is a lonely job you see… and sometimes, having fancy tools can somewhat dispel this loneliness, even if just for a bit, and however vain it may be.

An extra laptop for writing
If you're like me and tend to get distracted, then perhaps a separate laptop that you use only to write may be helpful? I'm using a Google Pixelbook Go. What about you?
A Kindle for your Reading
Writers are readers. And if you're like me and having trouble walking in your own house thanks to books everywhere, now's the time to get a Kindle!
Notebook # 1
Moleskine is always the classic standard for journals, isn't it? not the cheapest in the market, but still a reasonable price. My favorite so far.
Notebook # 2
This one is premium quality! Dingbats is made of some fiiine papers, guys! It makes you want to caress them pages all day long!
Index cards
Index cards are my new favorite things! These are an upgrade to your regular index cards and comes with the edges printed in a different color. Some fancy stuff they are!
Index card holder
And to hold your fancy index cards, may I entice you to waste more money getting a fancy index card holder? It looks great on your desk and holds a ton of cards!

Well, that’s it guys, hopefully you’ll find some of these resources useful to you. Feel free to skip the tools, but definitely consider reading the books I mention here, as well as signing up for Malcolm Gladwell’s Masterclass. 

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13 books and tools to help you grow as a writer and become better at your skill.
2 thoughts on “13 Books and Other Tools to be a Better Writer”
  1. Great post! I’ve been looking for some suggestions on how to up my writing game and needed some guidance for some good reads. Thanks!

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