10 Must-Read Books to Improve Writing Skills


Most students would agree that one of the most difficult things to learn at school is actually writing. The struggle is real, trying to write a research paper on the long-standing effects of global warming – or a book report on George Orwell’s 1984 – or even your dissertation on Social Justice for University. Whatever it is, writing isn’t easy, and the good writers know that. There’s a lot of things that separate good writers from the rest — their affinity for the English language, their broad vocabulary range, and even the way ideas seem to fill their mind whenever needed. As most students would agree, some people are just naturally good at writing, right? 

Wrong! Good writers understand that to improve their writing – they’ve got to work for it. If their vocabulary is weak – they learn new vocabulary. If they’re struggling with finding content – they do intensive research. Writing is similar to physical exercise – except this is exercising another muscle – your brain. 

The fact is that learning how to write can vary from person to person, and can produce various results. But there is one thing that is a common thread among those who excel at writing. Good writers read. And they read a lot. 

Reading is an essential tool for learning how to write – you encounter lots of new vocabulary and phrases, you get immersed in a completely different world, and you find some writing styles that suit your particular needs. But did you know that you can actually read to also LEARN? 

It’s an amazing revelation isn’t it? Reading books on how to write – a simple answer to a complex question has always been here at your fingertips. This collection of books will indeed improve your writing skills in just about any style.

Top 10 Books for Improving Your Horrendous Writing Skills

1. The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White

This is the pocketbook bible of writing – all the essential tips for writing in nearly every genre possible. Most schools have this in their curriculum, its a staple for language courses. A classic book – and it’s only 43 pages. If you need to start somewhere – start here. 

2. The Little Brown Handbook by H. Ramsey Fowler

Another classic title for improving writing skills – LBH (little brown handbook) gives you all the essential tools to improve immediately. From grammar to correct punctuation, and even formatting for research papers and dissertations – LBH has it all. This book is more comprehensive than most – and is used as a staple in most High School English courses. 

3. 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing by Gary Provost 

This book is quite fun to read – it gets into the minutia of writing styles and how effective some techniques are. Finding ways to make your text both cohesive and coherent is essential to writing well, and Provost doesn’t disappoint. He’ll help you find the writing style that suits you the best.

4. Bird by Bird By Anne Lamott 

A book meant for writers – Bird By Bird delivers anecdotes that will teach you how to find your content and unlock your creativity. There is less focus on grammar and language, and a heavier importance on getting the ideas to flow through your body, which is a typical part of writer’s block. 

5. How to Blog for Profit: Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup

If you’re going for a more personal blog approach – this one’s for you. Soukup has amassed a large following and became a successful blogger through these methods. It’s aimed towards beginners trying to make their way through this crazy world of blogging, so it’s definitely recommended for newbies. 

6. On Writing by Stephen King

No, this isn’t a novel of horrible writing incidents or some fictional prose. King guides you through the nature of writing and how it tends to take its course. This is a more personal approach to teaching as it highlights some of his moments, both good and bad, and what he took away from them as learning moments. 

7. Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury 

Another great fictional writer’s book on this list – Zen in the Art of Writing brings you a collection of essays that explain the life of a writer. It details all the characteristics a writer has, and how to effectively use them to find your own style and voice. Another personal approach to this book as Bradbury shares his words of wisdom with you. 

8. Write Tight: Say Exactly What You Mean with Precision and Power by William Brohaugh

A book mainly focused on language, Write Tight is a more methodical approach to writing. How to trim the fat from your writings, how to recognize empty modifiers, run-on sentences, utilize cleft sentences and such are just a few things Brohaugh has to offer. Recommended for those who are trying to hone and sharpen their writing skills rather than for beginners. 

9. Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley 

Another book focused on content, Everybody Writes is perfect for those who are trying to market their writing for a targeted audience. Not only is it focused on content, but it also goes into detail on the grammar and style rules for blogging and content writing. It’s not easy to create content from scratch, let alone content that is interesting but not “click-bait” so this is a definite read for those trying to push out content. 

10. Revising Prose by Richard Lanham

Another collection of stories and essays completes our list at 10! Revising Prose is chock full of great examples and experiences that can help writers get into – revising – your work. Revision is often underutilized in an attempt to improve writing, so Lanham revisits all the tips and advice needed for going into the next step of writing; revising. This book is recommended because of how different it is from the rest – and how useful it actually is. 

Whether you’re writing an essay for your history class, or starting a blog for second-hand vinyl stores in your area- writing is a tool that expresses your ideas. Learning how to improve your writing skills take time and effort – and lots of reading. 

If you’re still pressed for time and need to complete your homework in a rush – Assignment Expert offers all sorts of writing experts for your needs and at any level. 


Filed under English, Writing.
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