November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. There are a bunch of excellent resources online at, but writers can always use more encouragement and inspiration, so we curated a few books to kick your writing into gear and keep it there.
  1. Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark
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    Clark's stated mission is to help create a "nation of writers" and these 50 short essays on various aspects of writing make a classic guidebook for novices and experts alike.
  2. On Writing by Stephen King
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    Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, On Writing is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade useful for every writer.
  3. Art of Fiction by John Gardner
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    In this practical, instructive handbook, based on the courses and seminars that he gave, Gardner explains, simply and cogently, the principles and techniques of good writing.
  4. Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
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    More than just a how-to manual for the would-be writer, this is a passionate celebration of the act of writing itself that will delight and inspire your inner writer.
  5. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
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    Perhaps the seminal book on the subject of creativity, this book is perfect for those "silent poets" who have always wanted to try their hand at creative endeavors but have been afraid of failing or of looking silly. Among her advice, Cameron introduces the two primary tools of her course: the morning pages (daily free form writing) and the artist date, which encourages us to observe our surroundings. All of which are great habits for aspiring writers.
  6. The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
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    Amid moving accounts of her own writing (and life) experiences, Dillard also manages to impart wisdom to other writers, wisdom having to do with passion and commitment and taking the work seriously. She says about writing: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place.
  7. How Fiction Works by James Wood
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    A bit less prescriptive on how to write, How Fiction Works is both a study of the techniques of fiction-making and an alternative history of the novel, which is fascinating reading for those interested in exploring the history of the novel in a larger context.
  8. On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner
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    Our second pick from Gardner describes the life of a working novelist and acts as an indispensable, life-affirming handbook for anyone who is genuinely called to the profession.
  9. Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott
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    A personal favorite, Bird by Bird is an "instructive" guide on how to write and on how to manage the writer's life. Lamott is funny, lucid, and clear, and sticks with practical, relatable advice when it comes to jealousy, writer's block, and surrounding yourself with a supportive group of people. In the case of the story behind the title, she suggests taking it one step at a time, or, bird by bird.
  10. Last Night’s Reading by Kate Gavino
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    Filled with quirky, illustrated insight on topics ranging from friendship and humor to creativity and identity from more than one hundred of today’s greatest writers, keep this little book handy near your writing space for quick inspiration.
  11. Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey
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    For those who have already dabbled in the art of writing, honing your creative process can be challenging. In Daily Rituals Currey sets out to amass as much information as he can find about the routines “brilliant and successful” creators have adopted and followed. The result is a lively survey of the working habits of “some of the greatest minds of the last four hundred years.” Just what the doctor ordered when you need to shake things up!