This is an ongoing list of books and articles about writing, reading, freelancing, and using social media. I write mostly nonfiction (travel, food, culture), so many of these links are related to that type of writing.
- Bird by Bird. This is the classic book on writing and life from Anne Lamott. Overwhelmed by a project? Jealous of others’ success? Wondering what to write about? This is a worthwhile read.
- On Writing Well. An indispensable guide for nonfiction writers for more than 30 years, this book by William Zinsser includes chapters on writing about travel, science, memoir, and more.
- Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Writing. Don George’s book is my bible. I keep in near my desk and always learn something new from it. There are fantastic interviews with some of the best travel writers in the business and solid examples of travel prose.
- Will Write For Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Reviews, Memoir, and More. You’ll want this guide from Dianne Jacob if you’re serious about cooking, eating, and writing about it.
Articles and Websites About Writing
One great place to start reading about the craft of writing is in the New York Times’s Draft. If you’re feeling in a rut and in need of motivation, The Days of Yore blog provides interviews of artists before they had money or fame.
- Why I Write. Joan Didion’s 1976 essay in the New York Times. [NYT]
- Kurt Vonnegut’s Rules for Reading Fiction [Slate]
- Notes on Online Writing from Leo Babauta [Zen Habits]
- Slowpoke: How to Be a Faster Writer. This article doesn’t offer a quick solution, sadly. But it’s worth a read to get back on task. [Slate]
- 21 Lies Writers Tell Themselves (And How They Can Stop Lying to Themselves and Become Awesome!). Great read. Reality bites. [The Awl]
- The Writing Revolution. This long read focuses on analytic writing as part of a strategy for educational reform. [The Atlantic]
- How to Move from Travel Blogging to Travel Journalism [Matador Network]
- Why I Write: George Orwell’s Four Motives for Creation [Brainpickings]
- How to Write a Bad Review. This pertains to a particularly prickly book critique, but the tips can be applied universally. [Salon]
- 10 Tips from the Author of ‘On Writing Well.’ [Ragan]
- How to Write the Great American Novel. I’m not writing a novel anytime soon. But, I enjoy the tongue-in-cheek tips in this lengthy, brutally honest article. [The Awl]
- My Life’s Sentences. Jhumpa Lahiri meditates on the art and craft of writing. [NYT’s Opinionator: Draft]
- 25 Things Writers Should Stop Doing (Right Fucking Now). The subtext of this article gives you a clue that this is a no-holds-barred list. [Terrible Minds]
- The Art of Travel-Inspired Novel Writing [Travel + Leisure]
- The Secret Formula for Writing a Successful Travel Narrative. Written by the wonderful Don George, author of Lonely Planet’s book on Travel Writing. [Gadling]
- 16 Nonfiction Forms and How to Write Them [Matador Network]
- Why Writers Belong Behind Bars. Hilarious essay from Tony Perottet on how prison can be good for writers. Hint: no distractions. [NYT]
- A Working Mother’s Guide to Writing a Novel. Learning how to prioritize is the best thing you can do if writing isn’t your only job. [L.A. Times]
- Is Travel Writing Dead? [The Daily Beast]
- Practical Tips on Writing a Book From 23 Brilliant Authors. Great resource. [Neurotribes]
- 6.5 Things That Will Make You a Better Non-Fiction Writer. [Travel Writing 2.0]
- The Art of Momentum: Why Your Ideas Need Speed [Lifehacker]
- 30 Skills For Writers [Matador U]
- How to Make It: 10 Rules for Success From Freelance Writers [Complex]
- What You’re Worth. On saying “no” to writing for free. [Camels and Chocolate]
Social Media, Curation, and Building Websites and Communities
- How to Consistently Out-Curate Your Competitors [Outspoken Media]
- The Ultimate List of Pinterest Tips. Pinterest is not really my thing – yet. But I appreciate this exhaustive list of how to get the most out of the platform. [Blogging With Amy]
- SEO 101 for Travel Bloggers. I hate being beholden to SEO, but it is part of the online writing landscape. This is a really comprehensive piece on how writing great content leads to great SEO. It also touches on how to use tools to analyze and publicize your travel blogging. [SEOMoz]
- How to Run a News Site and Newspaper Using WordPress and Google Docs. Interesting tips on setting up your own media empire. [10,000 Words]
- How to Make Travel Editors Like Your Blog. Tips from Grant Martin. [Gadling]
Finally, I have a few favorite articles that lie outside the categories above.
- The Joy of Quiet. In this piece, Pico Iyer doesn’t give writing advice. Rather, he explains the importance of slowing down to listen to the voices in your head and the quiet around you. [NYT]
- How to Really Listen by Peter Bregman is along the same lines as the Pico Iyer piece above. Worth a read. [HBR Blog]
- Why We Travel. This is the ultimate Pico Iyer article on travel and travel writing. I love reading this piece for motivation every few months. [World Hum]