10 Fantastic Books to Inspire Your Writing

October 29, 2016
10 Books to Inspire Your Writing!

While there are endless resources online to inspire creativity and help your writing, sometimes it’s good to sit down with a hard-copy book and work through it, step-by-step. If you’re like me and prefer to jot your initial ideas down on paper, without the distraction of the internet, then taking one of the following books to a quiet spot, along with your notebook and pen, should kick-start your writing.

10 Fantastic Books to Inspire Your Writing

1. Crafting the Personal Essay: A Guide for Writing and Publishing Creative Nonfiction, by Dinty W. Moore

This book is written by the founding editor of well-regarded online magazine Brevity, which specialises in publishing very short works of creative non-fiction. Creative non-fiction is a wide-reaching style that can incorporate aspects of travel writing, memoir, the personal essay and other types of essay, so Crafting the Personal Essay is a useful book for writers with a range of ambitions and working in a breadth of styles. Dinty W. Moore’s style is fun to read, includes tips from a range of different writers and sources, and includes prompts to get you writing.

2. Goal, Motivation and Conflict, by Debra Dixon

This book is very good for story structure. ‘Goal’ refers to what is wanted. ‘Motivation’ to why it’s wanted. ‘Conflict’ is why it’s not attained. Travel stories aren’t supposed to be just chronological diaries. The book analyses well-known movie plots as examples. –Carolyn Pullman.

3. The Writing Life, by Annie Dillard

This has helped me immensely. It’s less textbook than reflection/motivation, but is really a wonderful look into the beauty and dedication of writing. –Alyssa Kropp.

10 Books to Inspire Your Writing

4. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott

It’s about the writing life and facing a book project without going mad. The author is ironic and fun and provides insights from major writers along the way. –Gaia Passarelli.

5. The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield

This is the one book I recommend to all my students. The book is divided into three sections: for those who want to write and avoid it, he gives practical tips on overcoming resistance; the second section is for professionals, and there’s lots of strong help with taking the step into getting published; the third section is about the spiritual (not religious) reality of writing as a practice. He’s written a half dozen books, screenplays (an early one was Bagger Vance) and you can use the book as a daily resource. –Mary Sojourner.

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6. Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Writing, by Don George

A must-have, especially if you write in travel, like I do. Don George has had a long and successful career as a travel writer, and has worked for National Geographic Traveler Magazine, among other well-known publications. –Valerie Stimac.

10 Books to Inspire Your Writing

7. A Poetry Handbook, by Mary Oliver

This book is brilliant at helping to show how to bring artistry to structure. –Alyssa Kropp.

8. The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron

The Artist’s Way is a twelve week program designed for anyone ready to recover their creativity.  The exercises and assignments are designed for readers to get to know their fears related to their writing, open their imaginations, and build a new sense of confidence. Following the The Artists Way, it’s a good idea to also complete Julia Cameron’s Vein of Gold and Walking in This World.

10 Books to Inspire Your Writing

9. Writing From The Heart, by Nancy Slonim Aronie

An inspiring and humorous book for anyone interested in using a creative path to healing, and getting to know their true self. Nancy teaches her readers how to reverse the damaging effects done to writers in school, where red pens disciplined grammar and taught them to mistrust their natural ability as storytellers–freezing them in their creative tracks.

10. Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg

Natalie Goldberg is a brilliant writing teacher who compares writing to many other skills that require discipline and practice, including relationships, meditation, yoga, and other arts.


10 Books to Inspire Your Writing photo credits by Unsplash. 

About Elen Turner

Elen Turner is a travel writer and editor based in the South Island of New Zealand. Her writing on New Zealand, Nepal, and India has appeared in a variety of places, including The Best Women’s Travel Writing Vol. 11, Lonely Planet, Architectural Digest, TripSavvy, The New Zealand Herald, and more. She is a developmental editor, copyeditor and proofreader who specialises in helping women authors express themselves through non-fiction and fiction.

7 thoughts on “10 Fantastic Books to Inspire Your Writing

  1. Anne Catanzarite
    November 28, 2016

    Fantastic article with engaging resources!!! Grazie!

  2. Phyllis Brotherton
    April 7, 2016

    A great list, a few of which I haven’t read. Yay! More books to read. I also suggest Mary Reufle’s “Madness, Rack and Honey,” inspiration for writers of any genre.

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