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9 Books That Helped Me With Writing

I’m constantly reading and learning about different topics and writing is one of them. There is a huge volume of information on writing and it can be tough to sort through it all and know where to start. Below are some of the books that I read when starting out and how each book helped me.

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft.”

Read this first if you are just beginning your writing journey. A lot of people recommend this at any stage in your craft, however I found it best to read if you need encouragement or some life lessons in writing. If you are looking for something more technical I would suggest looking at some of the books below.

“True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure – the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character’s essential nature.”

This book is dense!! I often refer back to it more and more. I also find that the more I read other books or take courses the information in this book becomes more clear. At first it can feel really overwhelming going through this book especially if you’re working on your first piece of writing. I made note cards of the most important information and I often refer back to it when I run into a problem.

“Creativity isn’t learning the right answers but asking the strongest questions.”

I don’t know about anyone else but this is probably my weakest skill in writing. In my head the dialogue sounds good – but once I’ve written it out and read it over – it’s trash. Literal trash. I have been/will continue to refer back to this book constantly. 

“To paraphrase one of my favorite math professors: The difference between great artists, and artists who are not so great, is that great artists think deeply about simple things.”

Super super important book! I will probably read through this every time I start writing a new book. This is incredibly detailed with wide ranging topics and resources about character and you should definitely read this before/as you write.

“Failure isn’t a necessary evil. In fact, it isn’t evil at all. It is a necessary consequence of doing something new.”

 It was cool to see how everything started for Pixar and the challenges they faced and how Ed manages everything. It talks a lot about managing people but also being creative and I did end up bookmarking some pages. I wouldn’t say this is the most important/necessary book you should read in regards to writing but it might spark some ideas for you.

“With such a deep rooted interest you can withstand the setbacks and failures, the days of drudgery, and the hard work that are always a part of any creative action.”

Cannot recommend this book enough. Start this before you start writing. This is such an important book if you’re not sure what you want to do with your life and you’re serious about doing something great. 

“People claim to want to do something that matters…They want to make something timeless, but they focus instead on immediate payoffs and instant gratification.”

For Perennial Sellar, I would suggest reading it in stages of your career/life. Or, reading through it once and referring back to it at the times that you need it. It covers a wide range of topics about building a long standing career – not just a 15 minute one.

“But if stories themselves are universal, the way we tell them changes with the technology at hand. Every new medium has given rise to a new form of narrative.”

I really loved this book. I also love transmedia. This talks about how people made creative and immersive experiences for their audience – which is something I would like to do one day. They have great case studies ranging from Avatar to Nine Inch Nails to Lost to Dark Knight.

If you’ve read these, what did you think of them? Am I missing any great books?  

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