- The Gregg Reference Manual
by William A. Sabin
McGraw-Hill, 2004. 704 pages.
This book has every punctuation and usage rule known to man. It’s oriented toward business writing. I use mine daily since no one can be expected to remember all those zillion rules. Super easy to access and find what you need.
· Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art
by Stephen Nachmanovitch
Tarcher/Putnam, 1990. 224 pages.
Nachmanovitch is a musician, computer whiz, and a writer. He’s written the best book on creativity I’ve ever found. If the mysterious process of creativity intrigues you, this book will give you plenty to chew on.
· If You Want to Write
by Brenda Ueland
Graywolf Press, 1997 (originally published in 1938). 179 pages.
Need encouragement? Here’s where to get some. This lovely lady (check out the photos of her in her 20’s and 80’s) will set you up and get you on your way. A wonderful, easy, inspiring book.
· The Art of Fiction
by John Gardner
Vintage Books, 1991. 240 pages.
If you’re serious about learning to write, this man will teach you. He dismantles the process and examines the pieces. It may take many readings to absorb his wisdom, but they’re all worth the time. If he were still alive, I would camp out on his porch.
· The Writing Life
by Annie Dillard
HarperPerennial, 1990. 128 pages.
Annie Dillard is a Pulitzer Prize winning writer. She demonstrates the joy of loving words and what they can do to human beings who want to learn how to live.
· The Art of Creative Nonfiction
by Lee Gutkind
John Wiley & Sons, 1997. 224 pages.
Gutkind is the go-to man for creative nonfiction. This is his basic book and a great place to begin if creative nonfiction inspires you.
· Writing Down the Bones
by Natalie Goldberg
Shambhala Publications, 1986. 171 pages.
What fun Natalie Goldberg gives us. Everything here is short, but powerful. She helps you learn and grow. You can’t help but love writing after this book.
· Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
by Anne Lamott
Anchor Books, 1995. 239 pages.
I think this is Lamott’s best book. She asks you to join her in the writer’s life, and it’s pure pleasure doing so.
· Steering the Craft
by Ursula K. Le Guin
Eighth Mountain Press, 1998. 173 pages.
Here’s a fine instructional book from a woman who has been writing best selling books for a long time. Exercises too!
· The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity
by Julia Cameron
Tarcher/Putnam, 2002. 272 pages.
This is one of the original "you can do this!" books. Yes, you are creative. It’s in there. Julia shows you how to get that creativity out and growing. Steps, exercises, and assignments move you along.
· Writing with Power
by Peter Elbow
Oxford University Press, 1998. 384 pages.
Elbow helps you write papers for class, but the man is a genius of a teacher. Some of his notions will set you free. The best? Let your creative side and your judgmental side work at different times so they don’t get in each other’s way.