• Jennifer Laffin

Here's a Book for That: Our Favorite Books for Teacher-Writers


Some people collect stamps, coins, or Star Wars figures. I collect books.

Many of my favorite books are those about my favorite topic -- WRITING! I am always on the lookout for titles that will inspire me or teach me something new.

There are plenty of books on the topic of writing, the old standbys being Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg, and On Writing by Stephen King. If you haven't read these books, stop reading right now and go get them.

But there are other books that may be lesser known, but are definitely worth a read if you are a teacher-writer. Here are a few of my favorites:

If You Need Inspiration or Writing Ideas:

The Hero is YOU by Kendra Levin (2016):

Levin uses the parable of the Hero's journey to help you "identify your gifts and vulnerabilities and begin the work." She will show you how to be the hero of your own writing world and encourage you to seek out change and challenge yourself to live the writing life.

The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna (2015):

This book begins: "These pages are a pep talk to honor that voice inside of you that says you have something special to give...It's permission to unlearn everything you've ever been told you SHOULD do in order to learn what you MUST." Keep turning the pages because the inspiration just keeps getting better and better.

If You Want to Build a Writing Habit:

A Writer's Book of Days by Judy Reeves (2010):

Reeves's book offers a writing prompt for every day of the year and a short snippet of inspiration for each week. According to Reeves, "In order to get good at anything, you've got to practice." Her book will help you do just that!

The Right to Write by Julia Cameron (1998):

I love the short, inspirational chapters in The Right to Write. This is where I first learned about Morning Pages and the power they have to create a regular writing habit. Cameron's voice is magnetic. She writes as if she was talking directly to you as a trusted friend. You'll love it!

If You are Looking to Improve Your Skills:

Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark (2008)

Writing Tools is divided into four sections: Nuts and Bolts, Special Effects, Blueprints, and Useful Habits. Each section contains tips that will take your writing to the next level.

Writing Alone and With Others by Pat Schneider (2003)

This is currently my favorite read about writing. Schneider leads us to write through her stories and calls to action. Reading this book is the next best thing you can find to attending a writing workshop in person. Seriously...read this book.

If You Struggle With Imposter Syndrome:

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert (2015)

I seriously cannot say enough good things about this book and how it helped me move forward with my writing. One of my favorite parts is when Gilbert shared how ideas find us -- and what happens when we don't claim them as our own.

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield (2002):

The War of Art begins by calling out a struggle many of us face: "It's not the writing part that's hard. What's hard is sitting down to write." In the following pages, Pressfield addresses this notion of resistance and how we can overcome it to get writing.

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero (2013)

Think you don't have anything of any value to contribute so you don't bother to write? Sincero would answer: "Instead of wasting hours and days and years trying to figure out your perfect next move, just DO something already." While this is not exactly a book about writing, it does address imposter syndrome in a very big way which is something most writers struggle with at some time or another. It's time to leave your comfort zone and put yourself out there!

One of the things that I love the most about these books is that I can pick one up, read a chapter, and learn something that can help me with my writing.

What titles do you love as a teacher-writer?

(We will be back next week when we will share our favorite books about writing for students! Sign up for our email list to have all of our posts delivered directly to your inbox. )

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