Building Your Writing Library with Classics

Every craftsman has his or her tools. The obvious tools are a computer, Internet, and a place to write, but another tool is a writing library.

In today’s Tuesday Tip we share a few classic books that might be a great start to building your personal writing library.

1. On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser

This book discusses the nuts and bolts of writing nonfiction in diverse genres.

2. On Writing: The Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Written in an autobiographical style, King shares how to fall in love with the art of writing. It’s a fascinating read and rich with tips on the craft of writing. It shows you how one of the most famous writers in the world sits in the chair every day to write, and to stay in love with that endeavor. I was surprised by how much I loved this book and it continues to be a favorite.

3. Writer’s Digest Handbook of Magazine Article Writing Edited by Michelle Ruberg

This includes original material as well as articles from the pages of Writer’s Digest magazine. This book answers questions on how to:

  • Brainstorm creative article ideas magazine editors will find irresistible
  • Find the right magazine for your work
  • Compose a professional, sophisticated query letter that catches the editor’s eye
4. Writers on Writing by Jerry B. Jenkins, Liz Curtis Higgs, James Scott Bell

This classic includes tips on writing from some of the top writers in the Christian Writing Industry, including Liz CUrtis Higgs, Jerry B. Jenkins, James Scott Bell and more. The topics are varied – from grammar to fiction book particulars, to ghostwriting, screenplays and more, this indispensable guide will show you the way to write for the Christian market.

5. The current version of Christian Writers Market Guide

This book is an essential element in your library if you intend to publish or you want to publish widely in any genre. It contains the majority of publishing market in CBA (Christian Booksellers Association).

Your Turn

Leave a comment on the blog about your favorite writing book! What about the book made it your favorite? What is the best piece of information you gleaned from it?


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  1. Getting into Print by Sherwood E. Wirt. It’s a bit outdated but still a good read about writing for newspapers. I also love to read biographies and autobiographies about writers. Recent ones I’ve read and loved were Pen Of Flame: The Life and Poetry of Catherine Baird and A Time to Write by Loula Grace Erdman. They won’t help with grammar but it is a source of encouragement to see how other writers made it.

  2. Betsy De Cruz: April 12, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    I also chime in with Rachel’s recommendation for Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. It is SO inspiring and encourages writers and creatives to move past fear. Definitely not written from a Christian viewpoint, but it is a great read!

    Also love Bird by Bird. I need to read the Stephen King book again.

  3. Jenna Barnett Searcy: April 11, 2019 at 7:31 pm

    Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird is a book I would suggest, especially if you are looking for some inspiration to write. I would say it has a similar feel to Stephen King’s book as they both offer up not just their writing lives but personal life as well.

    • Have you heard the personal story behind Anne Lamott’s title, Bird by Bird? It’s inspiring. And you are right, it’s a great resource!

  4. Thanks so much for this list. I would not have thought of having a Writer’s library of books except maybe the Writers Digest or Writers Market. I was given the book by Stephen King. I guess I should take it seriously. I love the speaking style of Liz Curtis Higgs.

  5. Carol Buckels: April 11, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    I recently read “Dancing on the head of a pen: the practice of a writing life” by Robert Benson.
    I was fascinated and could not put the book down. He was practical and informative. This is one I could reread this one over and over again.

  6. Thanks for the resources. Another fav is Annie Dillard’s, The Writing Life.

    “One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. . . . Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.” Annie Dillard

  7. Thank you for providing this direction!

  8. These are all new to me. I can’t wait to read them! Thanks for compiling this list. If you were to pick one to start with, which would it be?

  9. Rachel Quigley: April 9, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    I also love Stephen King’s book On Writing. My daughter is an English major in university right now and I had her read that book and my other favorite writing book, Bird by Bird by Ann Lamont. I also just finished Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.

  10. The “Writer’s Digest…” is new to me. I will check it out. Thank you, Suzie!