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.

Some of my favorite fiction
(I’ll rotate these every month)

Carter Beats The Devil, by Glen David Gold

Published in 2001, this fascinating blend of history, fiction, and magic swirls together to create a story that totally sucks you in.

One online reviewer used the phrase “creative and fun,” and I think that pretty uch sums it up.

Read all about it in the link below, but trust me - you’ll love it.

Ford County, by John Grisham

Yeah, he’s made his millions cranking out legal thrillers, but it’s too easy for people to overlook the fact that Grisham just flat-out knows how to spin a good story.

And here you get several of them. This collection of short fiction was recommended to me years ago (the book came out in 2009) and I’ve given it now multiple times as a gift.

I’ll often urge young writers to hone their skills by crafting solid pieces of short fiction before they attempt a bulky novel. This is a good training manual.

It wouldn’t be right for me to pimp my favorite fiction without spotlighting the book that truly inspired me, as a 7th-grader, to become a writer.

Rendezvous With Rama is science fiction, but the very best kind: the kind that makes you think. Morgan Freeman (the actor) has tried for years to develop this novel for the big screen. I only hope Hollywood would do it justice.

Best last sentence in a novel I’ve ever read - but only because of the book itself. (And don’t cheat and read that first. It would utterly ruin the book for you.)

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.