There’s a lot that goes into writing and publishing, most of which is simply time. Time at the keyboard or notebook, time spent thinking, and time you invest reading great works by other writers.

Here are my favorites, the books and other products I recommend to help you on your writing journey.

And good news for us both: As an Amazon affiliate, I can share direct links with you to make it simple. Yes, I make a small commission if you use these links, but it costs you nothing extra and it helps keep this site up and running - and hopefully helping people.

So thank you!

My favorite books on the art of writing

Bird By Bird, by Anne Lamott

Her subtitle pretty much sums it up: “Some instructions on writing and life.”

Listen, Anne is a no-nonsense/no bullshit writer, speaker, and instructor. I’m not the first to push this book on beginning writers and I won’t be the last.

Get it, absorb what she’s saying, and go create your words.

On Writing, by Stephen King

Yes, I get it, he’s one of the most successful writers in history and yet some people aren’t crazy about his books.

But whether you’re a fan or not of his fiction, this non-fiction collection of thoughts on the craft and - most important, I think - the mindset of a writer is valuable ammo.

I’ve read it more than once, and will undoubtedly dive in again soon.

Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing

It may be just my opinion, but I assert that Elmore Leonard wrote the best dialogue. Ever.

I was fortunate to hear him speak at a book store not long before he passed away, and the two hours he devoted to the crowd only confirmed what I suspected: The man was a treasure.

Given that it’s only 96 pages, this quick treat packs more insight and wisdom per page than any writing book you’ll find. Get it today.

Kenn, who now writes from Oregon, is a buddy of mine, but don’t hold that against him. I’d put his book of writing wisdom up against any of those mentioned above.

I’ve read this more than once, and have not disguised the fact that it was a big inspiration when I wrote my own collection of thoughts on the craft, The Color of Your Dreams.

Listen, writing should be fun. If you’re “slaving away at the keyboard,” perhaps you need the combination of Kenn’s experience and wit to discover (or rediscover) what intrigued you in the first place.

Other great books
(I’ll rotate these from time to time)

Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi

In this first novel of a fun series, Scalzi reveals a future where Earth is engaged in an ongoing battle with various alien species.

The twist? Senior citizens do our fighting. I won’t spoil how they do that. It’s central to the cool tech Scalzi introduces.

If you’re a fan of old-school sci fi, like Heinlein, you’ll dig it.

A Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson

First of all, how can you not love the title?

And as a big science nerd, I love the scope of Bryson’s goal.

He gives a layman’s explanation for things like the Big Bang, the dinosaurs, atoms, plate tectonics, you name it.

This is the kind of book you read more than once.

This was Smith’s first novel, and what a debut.

It’s a story about a serial killer in 1950s Soviet Russia.

And the chilling details of life under Stalin make you, even subtly, appreciate your life.

It’s one of the most well-written thrillers you’ll read.

For your writing business

Getting Things Done, by David Allen

Okay, so I was skeptical when I first heard about Allen’s book on organization.

I’m sure my first thought was, “Oh, right, organize my office and files and I’ll be a better writer. Sure.”

Damned if he’s not right. And it’s true, just buying the stupid label maker (similar to this one) changed my life. If your workspace is a cluttered freakin’ mess, this quick read could get you on track.