The best books about writer's block

6 authors have picked their favorite books about writer's block and why they recommend each book.

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Writing Down the Bones

By Natalie Goldberg,

Book cover of Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

When I read this book, I felt as though I’d come home somehow. Goldberg has such a natural, conversational voice while sharing life-changing truths. She shared in a way that embodied her message and I realized I wanted to do that with my calling. While writing about writing, she is also offering instruction that is valuable for anyone who wants to work on any art, craft, or business. Using her years of Zen meditation as a backdrop, she instructs the reader on going beyond self-judgment, training yourself to be excellent, and staying present. It’s a powerful book for anyone who wants to use writing to uncover their truth, and for anyone who wants to dive into practice of any kind, and not get their identity wrapped up in the outcome.


Who am I?

I am moved by the deepest potential in all of us. Having graduated from Harvard Law School and working as an unfilled attorney, I finally left everything to follow my true desire to write. So, I know how vital it is to have support for our inspiration instead of our fears. That’s why I’ve written 5 books to champion visionary minds, creative souls, freedom junkies, and more. And as a TEDx speaker and USA Today featured visionary career coach, I am always reading for my own growth and for my students. I recommend these books because they helped me to trust in greater possibilities. I hope they support your dreams. 


I wrote...

This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love

By Tama J. Kieves,

Book cover of This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love

What is my book about?

For anyone who has ever yearned to discover or live the true work within them  In This Time I Dance! you’ll find the inspiring story of how Harvard lawyer Tama Kieves left her corporate life to discover her buried creative self and develop the livelihood that stirred her soul and paid the bills. Going beyond the “5 easy steps” self-help formula, Kieves offers you an intimate mentor to map out the real process of realizing your wildest dreams. With her startling honesty and edgy humor, she will stir you to realize your own astonishing capacities. Kieves begins by asking the question she answers with her life: “If you’re this successful doing work you don’t love, what could you do with work you do love?” 

Several Short Sentences about Writing

By Verlyn Klinkenborg,

Book cover of Several Short Sentences about Writing

Do not come to this book in search of warm hugs about the beauty of the process. True to the title, Klinkenborg (best name ever?) offsets each of his sentences like an epic poem in verse. The epic he describes is how epically bad your writing is, and—hopefully—how to improve. He returns to the word "notice" over and over, and that's really it. You're blowing sentences by not noticing what the sentence itself is doing. You're over-emphasizing "meaning" at the expense of the vehicle that delivers it. I sense there's a kind man in there, somewhere, who's working a side of the street he feels has been neglected by years of misguided education. But here, he's dedicated to the larger cause of clean, clear sentences. Not hugs.


Who am I?

People come to songwriting from all different directions. Some have wanted to do this since they were little kids. Some like to make their parents mad. Some are wildly talented but crippled with doubt. All I can say is that no matter which way you’re facing, I think I can help you. I say this because I’ve been teaching college-level songwriting for years now, and every semester I have students who want to meet with me for office hours. They’re all repeat customers and I’ve noticed that many of them ask repeat questions. The point of my book, Music, Lyrics, and Life, is to try to address those repeat questions because chances are good that you have them, too. 


I wrote...

Music, Lyrics, and Life: A Field Guide for the Advancing Songwriter

By Mike Errico,

Book cover of Music, Lyrics, and Life: A Field Guide for the Advancing Songwriter

What is my book about?

Music, Lyrics, and Life is the songwriting class you always wish you'd taken, taught by the professor you always wish you'd had. With humor and empathy, acclaimed singer-songwriter Mike Errico has inspired students on campuses including Yale, Wesleyan, Berklee, and NYU's Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music.

Alongside his own lessons, Errico investigates larger questions of creativity with a wide range of innovative thinkers: astrophysicist Janna Levin explains the importance of repetition; renowned painter John Currin praises the constraints of form; bestselling author George Saunders unpacks the power of authenticity; and more. No matter where you are on your songwriting journey, Music, Lyrics, and Life will help you build a creative world that's both intrinsic to who you are, and undeniable to whoever is listening.

Walking on Water

By Madeleine L'Engle,

Book cover of Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art

I was in my mid-thirties in the midst of a spiritual and creative awakening when I discovered Madeleine L’Engle’s classic young adult fantasy, A Wrinkle in Time, and from that moment I was hooked on her writings—nonfiction as well as fiction. I suppose I could have chosen any of L’Engle’s books to recommend here, as I have read and been inspired by all of them. Yet Walking on Water seemed most appropriate because it addresses the connection between spirituality and creativity more directly than any of her other books, and it was that connection that helped unblock my longstanding creative blocks. 


Who am I?

Ask successful authors how they started writing, and many will tell you that they always wanted to write. Not me! In fact, through most of my first 35 years, I resisted engaging with anything even remotely creative. I wouldn’t have called it “writer’s block” back then because, having no conscious desire to be a writer, how I could I be blocked? Yet writer’s block is what it was. That I was ultimately able to recognize it as such and get past it has given me a unique perspective on others’ writing challenges, as well as the skill and compassion to help them free up their innate creative potential.


I wrote...

Writer's Block Unblocked: Seven Surefire Ways to Free Up Your Writing and Creative Flow

By Mark David Gerson,

Book cover of Writer's Block Unblocked: Seven Surefire Ways to Free Up Your Writing and Creative Flow

What is my book about?

You don’t have to experience writer’s block. Ever. You don’t have to sweat over the blank page. You don’t have to chew your pencil (or fingernails) to the nub. You don’t have to wonder where your next word is coming from. With Writer’s Block Unblocked, you’ll never feel stuck again.

Learn how to free your words onto the page more easily than you ever imagined possible! Experience the secret to effortless creative flow that no other book talks about! Banish all stuckness and hesitation! It doesn't matter what you write or how long you've been writing: Writer's Block Unblocked will get you started and keep you going—from first word to final draft. 

The Practice

By Seth Godin,

Book cover of The Practice: Shipping Creative Work

In The Practice, Godin successfully does that “thing,” that he is so uniquely good at: sharing wisdom with panache and joy, not condescension or cliché. He artfully argues for the creative to better empathize with their audience, and in doing so, create better art. Since, creativity is nothing without impact.


Who am I?

I have been addicted to reverse engineering things since I was a kid. I wrote The Creative Curve to reverse engineer the science of creativity. What could academic research teach us about creativity? If we talked to some of the world’s leading creatives, what would they tell us? My goal is to help readers unlock the part of them (that, as I argue, we all have) that is creative. When I’m not writing, I invest in tech startups that I think will leverage the principles from my book. I live in New York City with my mischievous, but incredibly adorable corgi Maven. 


I wrote...

The Creative Curve: How to Develop the Right Idea, at the Right Time

By Allen Gannett,

Book cover of The Creative Curve: How to Develop the Right Idea, at the Right Time

What is my book about?

Overturning the mythology around creative genius and revealing the science and secrets behind achieving breakout commercial success in any field. Including interviews with everyone from the Broadway team behind Dear Evan Hansen, to the founder of Reddit, from the Chief Content Officer of Netflix to Michelin star chefs, The Creative Curve reveals the four laws of creative success and identifies the common patterns behind their achievement.

On Writing

By Stephen King,

Book cover of On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

When one of the world’s top-selling authors writes a book that validates many of your most deeply held views on writing and creativity, it’s hard not to recommend it! For example, when so many writers and writing instructors tout planning, plotting, and outlining as essential to creative success, it’s refreshing to come upon a brilliantly successful writer who confesses that he rarely does any of those things. Rather, he frees his stories to take charge of the process; to me, that’s the best way to conquer any writer’s block! Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the book: “I won’t try to convince you that I’ve never plotted any more than I’d try to convince you that I’ve never told a lie, but I do both as infrequently as possible.”  


Who am I?

Ask successful authors how they started writing, and many will tell you that they always wanted to write. Not me! In fact, through most of my first 35 years, I resisted engaging with anything even remotely creative. I wouldn’t have called it “writer’s block” back then because, having no conscious desire to be a writer, how I could I be blocked? Yet writer’s block is what it was. That I was ultimately able to recognize it as such and get past it has given me a unique perspective on others’ writing challenges, as well as the skill and compassion to help them free up their innate creative potential.


I wrote...

Writer's Block Unblocked: Seven Surefire Ways to Free Up Your Writing and Creative Flow

By Mark David Gerson,

Book cover of Writer's Block Unblocked: Seven Surefire Ways to Free Up Your Writing and Creative Flow

What is my book about?

You don’t have to experience writer’s block. Ever. You don’t have to sweat over the blank page. You don’t have to chew your pencil (or fingernails) to the nub. You don’t have to wonder where your next word is coming from. With Writer’s Block Unblocked, you’ll never feel stuck again.

Learn how to free your words onto the page more easily than you ever imagined possible! Experience the secret to effortless creative flow that no other book talks about! Banish all stuckness and hesitation! It doesn't matter what you write or how long you've been writing: Writer's Block Unblocked will get you started and keep you going—from first word to final draft. 

The Unstrung Harp; or, Mr. Earbrass Writes a Novel

By Edward Gorey,

Book cover of The Unstrung Harp; or, Mr. Earbrass Writes a Novel

You're drawing, you're painting, you're doing whatever you do – you're making things that weren't there before. You're creating images, you're creating visual stories. Sometimes creation is a thrill, and sometimes it's a bizarre disorienting struggle. Nobody expresses the creative life quite like Mr.Earbrass (and Edward Gorey). Is it a how-to book? No. Is it a how-not-to book? It's not really that either. It's a story about an eccentric novelist crafting his latest book. I give this weird little storybook as a gift to artist and writer friends all the time. Everyone I've given it to just raves about it.


Who am I?

Drawing and painting people has been my passion and my profession for a couple of decades now. Fine art, comic books, animation, illustration – as long as I'm drawing people, I'm happy. I love the challenge of trying to capture (or create) a living, breathing, thinking person on paper. And I love talking about art books with other artists. Which ones are great, which ones miss the mark, which ones have tiny hidden gems in them. This list is a mix of books I love, and books I heartily recommend.


I wrote...

Vanishing Point: Perspective for Comics from the Ground Up

By Jason Cheeseman-Meyer,

Book cover of Vanishing Point: Perspective for Comics from the Ground Up

What is my book about?

There are tons of books for drawing a red barn in a field or a still life with a fruit bowl and a wine bottle, but what if you want to draw Times Square as seen from the air? Or an Alien city or an underground labyrinth? Or anything else that only exists in your head (so far)? Where do you put the vanishing points? How many of them do you need? What if you want to do weird curvilinear-perspective fisheye-lens stuff? Vanishing Point is a perspective drawing book that focuses on drawing imagined scenes, as well as observed ones.

How NOT To Write A Book

By Michelle Kulp,

Book cover of How NOT To Write A Book: 12 Things You Should Never Do If You Want to Become an Author & Make a Living With Your Writing

Michelle Kulp is a real pro. She works with authors on many levels to help them write and promote their books.  She wrote 12 books in 12 consecutive months thereby creating $3,000 a month in passive income. Not bad eh?

By learning what not to do, authors will have greater success publishing books and making a real living with their writing.


Who am I?

I am a book publicist and President of Westwind Book Marketing, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. I work with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it's their first book or their 15th book. I’ve handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers, and Adventurers. My clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman's World, and Howard Stern. 


I wrote...

Book Title Generator: A Proven System in Naming Your Book

By Scott Lorenz,

Book cover of Book Title Generator: A Proven System in Naming Your Book

What is my book about?

As a Book Publicist I have helped title hundreds of books and promoted hundreds more. I am a student of book titles and share my nearly three decades of book marketing experience with authors in this book.

 

I ask authors to consider all options in the quest for the perfect book title. From using numbers, alliteration, idioms, and keyword research, Book Title Generator covers them all.

Steering the Craft

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Book cover of Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew

As with Madeleine L’Engle, everything I’ve read by Ursula K. Le Guin—fiction as well as nonfiction—has radically influenced my writing and my teaching of writing. In fact, her impact on my creative awakening was so profound that I sent her a copy of my first book as a thank you! Steering the Craft is filled with wisdom and exercises for both new and seasoned writers, but perhaps the most liberating for blocked writers is her controversial view that “story” is defined by “change” not “conflict.” That’s especially welcoming for writers who feel hemmed in (and, perhaps, blocked) by the traditional definition.


Who am I?

Ask successful authors how they started writing, and many will tell you that they always wanted to write. Not me! In fact, through most of my first 35 years, I resisted engaging with anything even remotely creative. I wouldn’t have called it “writer’s block” back then because, having no conscious desire to be a writer, how I could I be blocked? Yet writer’s block is what it was. That I was ultimately able to recognize it as such and get past it has given me a unique perspective on others’ writing challenges, as well as the skill and compassion to help them free up their innate creative potential.


I wrote...

Writer's Block Unblocked: Seven Surefire Ways to Free Up Your Writing and Creative Flow

By Mark David Gerson,

Book cover of Writer's Block Unblocked: Seven Surefire Ways to Free Up Your Writing and Creative Flow

What is my book about?

You don’t have to experience writer’s block. Ever. You don’t have to sweat over the blank page. You don’t have to chew your pencil (or fingernails) to the nub. You don’t have to wonder where your next word is coming from. With Writer’s Block Unblocked, you’ll never feel stuck again.

Learn how to free your words onto the page more easily than you ever imagined possible! Experience the secret to effortless creative flow that no other book talks about! Banish all stuckness and hesitation! It doesn't matter what you write or how long you've been writing: Writer's Block Unblocked will get you started and keep you going—from first word to final draft. 

By Any Other Name

By Lauren Kate,

Book cover of By Any Other Name

This charming, deeply romantic tale about an editor whose big promotion is contingent on her helping a popular author overcome a terrible case of writer’s block reminded me of all the reasons I adore reading and writing love stories.

Working with this author leads Lanie to question her long-cherished beliefs about what she wants (and needs) in a romantic partner. She opens her heart to new ideas and experiences as well as to love, and her journey, both personally and professionally, culminates in such an epically swoon-inducing way that you will be hard-pressed not to shed happy tears (I did!).

Like the book’s heroine, Lauren Kate clearly reveres the written word, and this story is a beautifully composed valentine to all bibliophiles.


Who am I?

As an author, I run my own business and have a hand in all aspects of my product, from creation to promotion. My work is my passion, so I love to write (and read!) books about women who have that same dedication to their careers. I enjoy seeing these ladies strive for success and how they handle challenges along the way. And, of course, since RomComs are my genre, those challenges often involve a man because where else is a workaholic going to find her soulmate? The witty banter, sizzling sexual tension, snort-laugh moments, and surprising plot twists on the pages of all these books, including mine, are guaranteed to entertain you.


I wrote...

Straight from the Hart

By Tracie Banister,

Book cover of Straight from the Hart

What is my book about?

Romance concierge Vanessa Hart helps couples keep the spark alive but playing Cupid doesn’t leave this boss lady much time to lock down her own happily ever after. When Vanessa’s ex, celebrity publicist Alex Farr, reappears in her life with an intriguing proposition, she’d like to tell him where to stuff it. Unfortunately, her business is under attack and Vanessa needs the endorsement of Alex’s A-list client to keep it afloat.

All she has to do is save the marriage of Hollywood’s “It Couple” while working side-by-side with the man she once adored. Second chances may be the order of the day, but not for Alex and Vanessa. They’re done. Finished. Kaput. Vanessa just has to keep telling herself that until she believes it.

The Content Fuel Framework

By Melanie Deziel,

Book cover of The Content Fuel Framework: How to Generate Unlimited Story Ideas

Many times, content creators don’t focus on the entire plan…from the initial creation of the text, the audio, the video through to measurement. Well, fret no longer. Melanie takes her personal experience as well as interviews with content creators at companies around the world to develop a framework that works. The step-by-step format is can’t miss.


Who am I?

I’ve been a content creator for over 20 years now. I’ve written six books on content creation and content marketing and founded two companies dedicated to helping companies create better content (The Tilt for content entrepreneurs and Content Marketing Institute for enterprise marketers). Some people credit me for coining the term “content marketing,” but really I only popularized it. Oh, and I’m very passionate about the color orange.


I wrote...

Content Inc.: Start a Content-First Business, Build a Massive Audience and Become Radically Successful

By Joe Pulizzi,

Book cover of Content Inc.: Start a Content-First Business, Build a Massive Audience and Become Radically Successful

What is my book about?

Today's markets are getting more and more dynamic, and customers are increasingly fickle. Meanwhile, the COVID-driven economic crash has made mitigating financial risk more important than ever. From one of today's leading experts in content marketing, Content Inc. is the go-to guide to building a solid small-business by establishing a loyal audience before you sell any products or services. In these pages, Joe Pulizzi provides a lower-risk, better way to build a successful business by re-engineering the process that so often leads to failure: You'll learn how to develop valuable content, build an audience around that content--and then create a product for that audience.

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