I’ve been writing and publishing for a couple of years now, so a lot of people ask me how they can do the same. Consider this my answer: learn a little and just start. Because you’re sick of standing on the sidelines. You have something to say and, dammit, now is finally the time to say it. These books will help.
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
The War of Art. What a clever title, right? Pressfield talks about how and why we resist the thing we want the most (for many people it’s writing) – we want it so much that we’re almost paralyzed at the thought of trying and failing.
If you’ve wanted to write for a while, but keep putting it off, resistance is probably a factor. This book will help you figure out how you’re getting in your own way and inspire you to just start.
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
I’m not a huge fan of Stephen King’s books…except THIS one. I was hooked by the second forward (There are three of them! All funny!), which says, “Most books about writing are filled with bullshit.” Mr. King, you had me at hello.
The first half of this book is devoted to stories about King’s fascinating writing career. Did you know that Carrie was rescued from the garbage bin by King’s wife?! The second half of the book is full of writing advice. The book jacket says it’s “part memoir, part master class”. What a cool combo. So unique.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Holy smokes, Anne Lamott is a god – a warm, inspiring, self-effacing, hilarious, truth-telling god. It’s like she intimately knows the fragile little heart of every writer (or is it just me?).
The best chapter in this book is titled Shitty First Drafts. It’s about the necessity of just fucking getting on with it – getting started, even when you’re afraid the writing won’t be good enough. Her solution? Just aim to write a shitty first draft. That’s all. Just get something out on the page. It may not be award winning, but it’s better than putting it off. Again.
The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging
By the editors of Huffington Post, Forward by Arianna Huffington
This is a great book for true blogging newbies. It was published back in 2008 when Huff Post was still a baby – a BIG baby, but a baby nonetheless compared to its current behemoth status. If anyone knows a thing or two about blogging it’s Arianna Huffington and the Huff Post crew.
It’s broken up into three parts, but frankly the last two parts aren’t even worth mentioning because all of the juicy stuff is in Part 1: The Nuts and Bolts of Blogging. Not sure where to start or even what you want to blog about? Covered. And what about choosing good titles? Finding your voice? Basic analytics? Building a community? You’ll learn a little about each of those things. Think of it as a sample platter of blogging advice – little nibbles of everything.
The Artists Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity
You’ve probably heard of this one before. It’s a classic. If you’re at all timid about blogging or if you currently intimidated by writing, this book will gently help you get in touch with your creative side and find the guts to try. It’s chuck full of exercises and prompts to get you going.
The format? A 12-week self-directed course that focuses on self-compassion and creativity in equal parts. The introduction to the 10th Anniversary Edition begins with the words, “Art is a spiritual transaction.” That captures the book’s vibe perfectly.
Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
Despite having completed a journalism degree and two graduate degrees, my grammar is the pits, so I read this grammar book to help me learn what the hell I’m supposed to do. Is it who’s or whose? Dash or hyphen? And what about the Oxford comma?
Why do I recommend this grammar book, in particular? It’s cheeky and hilarious. For real. Grammar + funny. It exists. Just check it out.
Blog Inc.: Blogging for Passion, Profit, and to Create Community
Joy Deangdeelert Cho
This book is for bloggers with BIG ambition who eventually want their blog to morph into their full-time gig. Topics covered: site design, developing your voice, content development, writer’s block, media exposure, social networking, financing, affiliates, sponsors, and lots more.
The best feature of this book? Eighteen interviews with the supercool people behind very successful blogs like Kate Spade New York, Color Collective, Girl Crush, and Design Sponge. These folks give you the inside scoop on how they use their blog to promote their brand, use social media, and build community. They also talk about setting priorities, managing time, strategizing, growth, the works.
How to Blog a Book: Write, Publish, and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time
Another book for bloggers with BIG ambition! I’m in the middle of writing my own book and the best piece of advice I got when I started was, “Your blog is your book.” This book operates from that same headspace. Amir is a nonfiction editor and publishing expert, so she knows what she’s talking about.
Some things on the menu: getting clear on your topic, planning your posts, getting readers, optimizing traffic, using plug-ins, using video, linking, social sharing, becoming a credible expert, writing a proposal, contacting a literary agent, self-publishing, and lots more. Whew! This one will keep you busy.