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  • Writer's picturealisonkilian

Books I Use as a Professional Writer

Updated: Mar 25, 2022

Turns out the job of a writer involves a lot of reading.

I'm a full-time writer. I don't write "as a hobby" or "on the side." It's what a day, full time, day in and day out. When I was a child, teachers flagged my talent for writing and urged me to pursue it further. I entered adulthood smug in the knowledge that I was a "gifted" writer. And then reality struck: There are a lot (!) of gifted writers out there. A lot. I quickly learned that if I was going to make a career out of the written word, I had to improve my craft. So I did.

I've spend a decade carving out a freelance writing career. In that span of time, I've worked on my writing. Part of that work involves reading. There are loads of books to help people become better writers. Want to improve your attention to detail? There's a book for that. Want to get more succinct with your writing? There's a book for that. Simply need some inspiration to sit down and... write? There's a book for that too.

As a writer, I'm constantly evolving—so my work in "honing my craft" is nowhere near done. But these are some of the books that have helped me on my path. I thought I'd share in case they interest anyone else. I should note that I write both fiction and nonfiction, so this is a wide range of titles! Here are my favorites:

  • On Writing by Stephen King (for inspiration

  • Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (for even more inspiration!)

  • On Writing Well by William Zinsser (for style)

  • Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody (for plotting fiction)

  • Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes (for plotting romantic fiction — full admission: I ghostwrite romance novels on occasion!)

  • The Chicago Manual of Style... Well, they couldn't all be fun! But familiarizing myself with this style guide has been a game changer.

There are loads of useful books about writing, so I'm sure I missed plenty! If you have a book you turn to to improve your craft or skill, I'd love to hear about it. Let me know in the comments!

Thank you for reading my blog! This is a space where I share personal thoughts — an opportunity for self-expression that has nothing to do with my professional writing. None of the thoughts or opinions expressed in this blog should be construed as anything but my own, nor should they be affiliated with any company or person I contract with or write for.

NOW that that's done... I'd love to hear from you about this blog post in the comments!

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