5 Books on Writing & Productivity

WritingBooks

There exist lots of writing guidebooks. The ones we’ve listed here are not so much guides on how to write (though they include useful tidbits about that) as they are nudges on how to produce a lot of writing.

 

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

The most well-known chapter of Lamott’s book is probably “Shitty First Drafts.” In that chapter, she also talks about quieting the voices in her head in order to focus on writing. If you haven’t read this book, you’ve missed a classic.

 

How to Write a Lot by Paul J. Silva

This book is written especially for academics, but the principles work for anyone who wants to produce a significant amount of writing: scheduling, accountability, prioritizing. If you have a book project that’s stalled or you’re on the tenure track, get this book right away. It’s a quick, convincing read.

 

Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

Kleon’s book and its companion, Show Your Work, are fun, straightforward, motivational books. The best two chapters for productivity are probably “Be Boring” and “Creativity Is Subtraction.”

 

A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld

We’re written about this book before HERE. It’s the most detailed in the list, and it includes ways to put the ideas into practice.

 

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

Goldberg’s book is an oldie but a goodie, with inspirational words to get and keep you writing and also exercises. This book’s approach is the most holistic: “To do writing practice means to deal ultimately with your whole life.”

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