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Creative Writing 101: Textbooks for 2021

There are thousands of creative writing books and articles out there to choose from.

The advice is usually helpful, but there's a balance between reading about writing and actually writing. Ultimately, we believe writing is best learned through daily practice.

That being said, always helps to learn from the greats. But instead of trying to tackle the entire library of writing textbooks, it's good to have 2 or 3 "companions" with you when you start writing a book. Our list below is a mix of "How To" process oriented ones as well as some journals that show how even the all-time great authors wrestled with things like writer's block, insecurities, and not knowing where to end their story. You can't go wrong with any book on this list.

We'd include the Amazon links, but from now on we're going to always recommend stopping into the local bookstore instead.

John Steinbeck

  • Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters

  • Working Days: The Journals of the Grapes of Wrath

Heather Sellers

  • Chapter After Chapter

  • Page After Page

  • The Practice of Creative Writing

Anne Lamott

  • Bird by Bird

Ernest Hemingway

  • On Writing

Stephen King

Trust us, even if you're not a fan of horror and immediately skip Stephen King, we can't recommend this book highly enough. It's one of the best On Writing books out there. Give him a chance!

  • On Writing

Gertrude Stein

Remember in Woody Allen's movie Midnight in Paris how the writers came to Kathy Bates for writing advice? Well, she was playing Gertrude Stein. Always wise to learn from the same teacher Hemingway and Fitzgerald turned to.

  • How to Write

Ella Berthoud

This one is a little bit of a stretch, but I think it's worth including. Imagine going to the doctor and they prescribed you novels instead of a normal prescription. Whatever your book is about, or whatever challenges you're facing in life that help fuel the story, it's good to see what other books on the topic looked like.

  • The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You

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