A few weeks ago, I posted an article about the pros and cons of taking writing classes (or any business classes) and included a picture of my “writing resources” bookshelf. Wow! I never imagined so many people would want to know what writing resource books I recommend!
And yes, I have some that I highly recommend. So I’ve compiled a list of my “can’t live without” books for writing. To make your life easier, I’ve linked to their page on Amazon.com so you can just buy them with a click.
A dictionary (A GOOD dictionary)
Mine is a Webster’s and it was what I asked for from my grandmother when I graduated from high school. Now, before you point out that there’s an app for that (or a website or a widget or a thingymabob) there’s a REASON I still have an honest to goodness dictionary sitting on my shelf. When you look up a word for its correct spelling, definition or usage in a digital format you get exactly what you’re looking for and nothing else. When you look it up in a paper dictionary, you get to read all the other words that are on the page! And those other words always spark ideas.
I have two: the matching Webster’s to my dictionary and a really cool one by Roget’s called the Super Thesaurus. Of course you can look up synonyms and antonyms online, and even click to be taken to definition of any word you don’t recognize, there’s still something to be said for the ideas sparked by the orderly row of words on the page.
I got this for writing poetry actually but keep it around because there’s something powerful and magical when you’re writing sales copy and you’re able to weave in slant rhyme or alliteration. It takes us back to our childhood, makes us feel safe, and makes me want to buy!
Words That Sell & MORE Words That Sell
Both by Richard Bayan. It’s all there in the title! The reason I recommend this in print is because it’s been my experience that reference books like this one just don’t work digitally. I discovered that buying a verb book for Italian. Sure it SEEMS like the hyperlinks work but they don’t always. Just get it in paper! PLUS you can dog ear your favorite pages!
Juicy Online Marketing Essentials
By Michele PW & Lisa Cherney. This is specifically for business writing BUT the idea process of headline, sub-headline, benefits, weave in a story format is a great one to understand. I use this in blog posts (minus the sub-head) all the time!
The Book Idea Workbook: 10 Can’t-Fail Steps to a Book Your Prospects Can’t Wait to Read (And You’re Excited to Write!)
Okay, so I’m tooting my own horn here a little bit BUT this is a great resource to have when you’re looking to get started writing a book of your own. And it is specifically targeted to people who are looking to add a book to their existing business.
What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers
By Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter. This book has a special place in my heart since it was the first-ever book on writing I ever bought. But the reason why I’m recommending it to non-fiction, business writers is this: Facts tell, stories sell. And stories engage your reader! You need to learn how to tell good stories and this book is a great place to start.
There are a few other books on my shelf that I really love including:
The Art and Craft of Poetry by Michael Bugeja because it breaks poetry down simply and accessibly. Non-fiction can always benefit from having more poetry and beautiful sounds to the words.
How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck: Advice to Make Any Amateur Look Like a Pro
By Steve Stockman. Okay, okay, so this is a book about creating VIDEO. But it always sparks my imagination, gets me thinking beyond the page and is a great resource if you’re thinking of adding video to your business.
My Spanish/English dictionary and my 501 Spanish Verbs book. This has NOTHING to do with what you write but after using, abusing and replacing both these tomes while in college and learning their value when I was studying in Spain, the thought of being without them is painful. So there they are on my bookshelf with my other books!
As you start writing more and more, create your own go-to set of writing resources. It’s amazing how empowering it is when you’re stuck in a bit of writing and you can go to your shelf and pull down JUST what you need. Look for books that help you generate ideas, are go-to resources you use again and again, and books that just make you happy!
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