Even if you don't define yourself as a writer, entrepreneurs are creating written materials every day: sales proposals, marketing emails, business plans, and countless other things. If you can't tell your story in a compelling way in writing, it could be costing you business.

The best way to improve your own writing is to read good writing. By reading quality writing by top-notch authors, you'll begin to get a sense of voice, structure, how to leverage language more powerfully (or how not to), how to make compelling points, and more. You can read the top books on any topic, from entrepreneurship and creativity to knitting and vampires; whatever you like.

But these four books do double duty by being great examples of quality writing in and of themselves, as well as being focused on the topic of writing. These books will not only inspire you, but they'll instruct you as well, providing you with plenty of tips and tricks to keep honing your writing chops.

1. "Everybody Writes," by Ann Handley

When it comes to writing, the old adage does not hold true; whether you think you are, or think you're not, you ARE a writer. From a book or a blog post, to emails to a colleague, a pithy tweet and a birthday card for a friend, we write every single day.

This book is equal parts inspirational and practical, giving general writing guidance, tips for specific types of writing and a dose of writing encouragement. Handley's conversation style goes a long way toward making you feel like you--YES, YOU-- have got what it takes to write something worth reading.

2. "On Writing," By Stephen King

This book is one of countless fantastic reads by Stephen King that will inspire you to want to master the written word. "On Writing" is an interesting hybrid book, providing biographical personal anecdotes about King's own writing journey, insight into the magic writing moment for some of his greatest works, and more tactical tips for honing your own writing skills.

You'll learn about the habits he's adopted to become the prolific writer he is, and the tips and tricks he's picked up along the way. And you'll also get the compelling prose that King is known for, through reflections on his own process, stories about his childhood and more.

3. "Think Like An Editor," By Steve and Emilie Davis

While you may not have an editor for much of the day-to-day writing you do for work emails, proposals and social posts, it works to your advantage to be able to think like one. I was lucky enough to have Steve and Emilie Davis as professors at Syracuse's Newhouse School, and this book proved a useful resource in training many young reporters to think more like the editors who help them.

The book is well organized and formatted in 50 short strategies and concepts that allow you to read it through or to flip through for a specific reference. You'll come away with an understanding of the thought processes that an editor uses to help make writing more clear, concise and compelling, and be able to apply those lessons to you own writing. Thinking like an editor will surely give your writing a leg-up when you don't have a second set of eyes present.

4. "Elements of Style," By Strunk and White

A list of books for writers wouldn't be complete without mention of Strunk & White's classic reference guide, " Elements of Style," which brings the basics into focus in a way that's incredibly helpful for new writers and a great reminder for seasoned writers. 

Strunk & White have presented the basics of usage, grammar, composition, and style in a way that makes the information both relatable and memorable. Beyond simply listing prescriptive rules, the authors give actionable advice for current and aspiring writers, sharing words you should avoid, words you're probably misusing, common mistakes and more. This book is a must-have for any word-smith, aspiring, ascending or otherwise. 

Reading great books of any genre will go a long way toward helping you hone your own writing skills, and these four books about writing will help you get you there faster. 

Published on: Aug 9, 2016
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