Elizabeth Gilbert on a new way of thinking about creativity.

“Eat, Pray, Love” Author Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person “being” a genius, all of us “have” a genius. It’s a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.

Here are five great books on writing and a creative life. These are not “tip books” or self-help guides, they will not give you a quick-and-easy shortcuts or try to convince you that anything but practice and effort will make you a better writer and a more creative person. This short list represents a small sample of some of the best titles out there and come heavily recommended. Read one of these books, and you will no doubt devour the rest in turn. So, lets begin.

1) On Writing Well by William Zinsser

“This book is as engaging as it is instructive. It’s so easy to read and understand, you can’t help but improve. It spells out everything that’s wrong most people’s writing, then provides simple solutions. You’ll cut pounds of fat from your writing. Your sentences will sparkle and your paragraphs will dance. Best of all, your readers will read, not groan.”

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2) Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

“I’m hooked on Lamott. She slaps me in the face with her startling revelations, nudges me in the ribs with her unpredictable humor, and prods my frozen little writer’s hands back into action with warm compassion. This book won’t solve the mechanical aspects of my writing, or lead me on the path of structural excellence, but it will spark my creativity, free my characters to be true to themselves, and, ultimately, shake me from my doldrums back into the writing mode.”

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3) The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

“I’ve seen many books on creativity, but this is by far the most practical and accessible one I’ve read. Tharp knows that it takes hard work and good habits to create something tangible, and she doesn’t waste our precious time on mystical mumbo jumbo or some magical “way” of the artist. It’s the work, folks.”

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4) On Writing by Stephen King

“No matter if you are a non-writing King-reader or if you are a writing King non-reader, On Writing will entertain, teach, and open your eyes to the complex world of (creating) fiction. ‘Creating’ fiction, because it is not just writing in proper grammar that makes a book good. It is the determination, the love, feel and creativity the author pours into his/her piece. And King most certainly brought all these points – and more – very well together.”

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5) The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and Roger Angell

“Put the principles laid out in this slim book to use, and you will write better than ninety-nine percent of college educated Americans. Anyone reading your writing will thank you for it.”

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