5 Books to Develop Your Writing Skills By Amanda Sparks

Writing is one of the primary means we use to communicate with one another. The better your writing skills are, the more likely you are to be successful.

What do you mean by writing skills?

Writing skills are your ability to use the written word to effectively communicate your thoughts, feelings, and ideas to others. This includes the ability to write without egregious spelling and grammatical errors, but it’s not limited to that. You can increase writing skills in other ways.


A good writer understands and writes to their audience. They have a good vocabulary and can pick the write words to express themselves. They understand the importance of brevity.

How do I improve my writing skills?

First, write a lot. Then, get people you trust to give you feedback on your writing. Finally, read and then read some more. You can start with the following five books designed to increase writing skills.

  1. Gary Provost “100 Ways to Improve Your Writing”

Even though this book was published over 35 years ago, it is absolutely still relevant today.  The book covers everything from finding inspiration as a writer to proper grammar and punctuation. The author uses a humorous and relatable writing style to get his points across. This one belongs on every student’s or professional’s desk as a quick an easy reference guide.

  1. John Langan “College Writing Skills”

Yes, this is a textbook. However, it should be noted that this is one of the more respected textbooks aimed at helping students to develop college level writing skills. Whether you are a student or not, this writing skills book is perfect for helping you to master the basic rules of writing. It will give any emerging writer the foundation that they need.

  1. Natalie Andersen “Conquer Essay Phobia: The Perfect Formula for a Good Grade”

Sometimes fear is the real roadblock to good writing. This can especially impact students. After all, what better way to stir up dread than the knowledge that your writing is going to be read, and then judged? This short, easy to read guidebook not only walks students through the essay writing process, it helps them manage the fear and writer’s block that are all too common.

Not a student? You can still benefit from this book. The tips it contains can be applied to any scenario where you might be evaluated on the effectiveness of your writing. This one is definitely worth the half hour or so it takes to read this little gem.

  1. Stephen Pinker “The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century”

Writing has changed. Unfortunately, many of the style guides have not adapted to that fact. Stephen Pinker finally brings something relevant to the table; a style guide that is actually relevant to people writing for 21st century audiences. Even better, he does it without using the scolding, academic tone found in other guides.

Instead of trotting out tired tropes about young people, net-speak, and the impending doom of the written word, he provides well thought out advice and guidelines on making writing more effective. If you’ve been turned off by writing up until now, check this book out. You may find yourself newly inspired.

  1. Larry Brooks “Story Engineering: Mastering the 6 Core Competencies of Successful Writing”

Is there a formula for good writing? There just may be! Larry Brooks’ book covers six competencies that make the structure of good writing. These include, theme, character, story structure, concept, writing voice, and scene construction. If you can master these competencies and apply them in a way that works for the piece you are writing, great things can happen.

The best part is that you don’t have to be super creative or a master wordsmith. Anyone can learn the concepts described in this book and use them to make their writing much more compelling.


It would be nearly impossible to find someone whose life would not be improved in some way by bettering their writing skills. The five books listed above are guaranteed to help anyone brush up on basic skills, improve the relevance of their writing, get past writer’s block inducing fear, and learn to write for a modern audience.