3 Books to Help You Improve Your English Writing Skills
Writing is an incredible form of expression. But why do we write?
- For the love of writing
- A healing habit
- To impact the world
- To share your story with the world
- And just for fun and enjoyment
Whatever your reason is, writing is transformative and tricky. Whether you are an aspiring author or an experienced one looking to step up your game and improve your writing skills, this article is for you.
There are two simple truths: writing skills can be taught and all good writers are good readers. Nothing highlights the importance of reading for writers than this quote by the legendary author Stephen King, that says:
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”
So what better way to accomplish two things at once than to read books about writing? To save you some time that would go into researching the best books on writing, we compiled a list for you. This list includes the 3 books we think are the most helpful to improve skills in all forms of writing; blogging, informative, fiction, and more. And for more convenience, these books are all available at Books Mandala. So, if you feel a lack of motivation in your journey of writing, refer to these books.
- On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Fiction – William Zinsser
William Zinsser was a lifelong journalist and a non-fiction writer. He also taught writing at Yale University and has authored over 18 other books ranging from commentary, memoir, travel, and writing guides. His other renowned works include “Writing to Learn” and “Writing About Your Life”.
On Writing Well is a book for everybody who wants to learn how to write or who needs to do some writing to get through the day, as almost everybody does in the age of e-mail and the Internet. Zinsser has arranged the book into four major parts; principles, methods, forms, and attitude. Whether you want to write about people or places, science and technology, business, sports, the arts or about yourself in the increasingly popular memoir genre, this book offers you fundamental principles as well as the insights of a distinguished writer and teacher.
Here are some of the best tips from the books:
- Simple writing conveys the best meaning. Eliminate any unnecessary and redundant words and phrases.
- Spend a lot of time creating great beginnings and endings. They matter more than you think.
- If you aren’t inspired by your writing yourself, it won’t inspire your reader. So, make sure your writing impresses and hits you.
“Look for the clutter in your writing and prune it ruthlessly. Be grateful for everything you can throw away. Reexamine each sentence you put on paper. Is every word doing new work? Can any thought be expressed with more economy?”
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life – Anne Lamott
Anne Lamott is an author of several novels and her non-fiction works are largely autobiographical, with strong doses of self-deprecating humour. She doesn’t shy away from covering subjects such as alcoholism, single motherhood and Christianity. Her father was also a writer and was the basis of her first novel Hard Laughter.
"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write. [It] was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said. 'Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'"
Sometimes as a writer, we tend to take things too seriously. Overthinking and overanalyzing make things complicated beyond reason. And when this happens, writing is a daunting task as opposed to fun and therapeutic. Anne Lamott points out some of the things that cause writers grief such as perfectionism and even insomnia. With this “bird by bird” view in mind, she offers us a step-by-step guide on how to write and how to manage life as a writer.
This book perfectly demonstrates what it takes to be a writer and what it means to be a writer. From "Getting Started,' with "Short Assignments," through "Shitty First Drafts," "Character," "Plot," "Dialogue." all the way from "False Starts" to "How Do You Know When You're Done?" Lamott encourages, instructs, and inspires.
“Try looking at your mind as a wayward puppy that you are trying to paper train. You don't drop-kick a puppy into the neighbor's yard every time it piddles on the floor. You just keep bringing it back to the newspaper.”
- Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content – Ann Handley
Ann Handley is the world’s first Chief Content Officer. She was cited as the most influential woman in Social Media and recognized by ForbesWoman as one of the top 20 women bloggers. She speaks and writes about how you can rethink the way your business markets its content.
Everybody Writes is a guide to publishing the kind of content that will make your business thrive in spite of intense competition in the market. Millions of new blog posts and other pieces of content hit the internet every single day. If you have a website or if you want to start a new blog if you are a publisher. If you are on social media, you are in marketing. This means that we are all relying on our words to carry our marketing messages. We are all writers. Our online content tells our customers who we are.
This book is filled with useful tips that you should know for your marketing and writing career. What does it take to stand out? How to make content that inspires? How to connect with customers and build empathy? Plus, Ann also covers grammar and best writing practices.
“Your customers don't buy your product to do your company a favour, … They're doing it because your product makes their lives better. So if you want to sell something, you need to explain how you're helping them.”
Get these books from Books Mandala.