Essentials of a Writer’s Library Part III – Writer’s Life


Let’s talk about what I call, ‘Writer’s Life’ books. I have two sections of these in my library. I’m going to cheat and offer my faves from both sections

Section 1: Those written by writers about how they write, with nuggets of wisdom for other writers


On Writing – Stephen King is in my opinion, the BEST. And not only because I’m a huge King fan, and he describes writing some of my favorite books of all time. I’ll bet that 90% of your favorite author quotes came directly from this book, including advice to kill your darlings, that the road to Hell is paved with adverbs, and that description begins in the writer’s imagination, and should finish in the reader’s.

I’m not even sure you can call yourself a writer if you don’t own this book.



Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott

Here’s a piece of the blurb (which is not hype, just fact):

For a quarter century, more than a million readers—scribes and scribblers of all ages and abilities—have been inspired by Anne Lamott’s hilarious, big-hearted, homespun advice. An essential volume for generations of writers young and old, Bird by Bird is a modern classic.



On Writing – Sol Stein

I’m kind of cheating here, because this could have been in my craft category. But I’m including it here because you need it, and because he was an editor for years, and talks about the craft of writing like a writer – so a writer can easily understand the concepts. Seriously, if you don’t have it, get it. Read it.

Section 2:  Those written about writing itself – the creative process.

I’ll be honest with you. I don’t use these at all – they don’t fit my process. But I know others who swear by them. If I’ve missed good ones, please let me know in the comments.

The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron

A piece of the blurb (and hey, with an endorsement like that, it must be good):

The seminal book on the subject of creativity. Millions of readers have found it to be an invaluable guide to living the artist’s life.

“Without The Artist’s Way, there would have been no Eat, Pray, Love.” —Elizabeth Gilbert

Also included in this category would be journaling, writing prompts and morning pages. But like I said, I can’t speak much to this. I killed way too many brain cells in the 70’s, and I’m lucky enough to get my daily word count in!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series – stay tuned for next Monday’s craft blog!


  1. Tonja Barnum on May 18, 2020 at 9:25 am

    Thank you for sharing.

  2. Barb Ristine on May 18, 2020 at 10:33 am

    I have two of these, On Writing and Bird by Bird. Anne Lamott is one of my Writing idols. I have been to several of her craft talks at Squaw Valley.
    I probably should follow your recommendation to read the Sol Stein book.

    • Laura Drake on May 18, 2020 at 11:05 am

      Hi Barb! You’re so lucky – I’d love to meet her! You will not be sorry about buying Stein’s book. I wish I had a nickel for every workshop presenter or instructor who recommended his book!

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