Indie Author Weekly

059: Favourite books to improve your writing & editing skills

May 12, 2020 Sagan Morrow Episode 60
Indie Author Weekly
059: Favourite books to improve your writing & editing skills
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Indie Author Weekly
059: Favourite books to improve your writing & editing skills
May 12, 2020 Episode 60
Sagan Morrow

Welcome back to Indie Author Weekly, where I share my behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books. 

If you’re new to this podcast, I am a productivity strategist for multi-passionate creatives at SaganMorrow.com: I help people manage their time and energy effectively, through customized, actionable strategies that work for your unique life and business. When I’m not teaching about productivity to solopreneurs, I spend my time writing romance novels, and occasionally, business books. And that is what this podcast is all about: the adventures of the author life. 

Now let’s get into this episode of the Indie Author Weekly podcast. Today, I want to share just a few of my favourite books that have helped me improve my writing skills over the years. These are great resources if you want to get a deeper understanding of language and how to use it effectively, and also if you want to improve your editing skills. 

By the way, we have a whole episode here on Indie Author Weekly featuring 10 practical tips for editing your own work—you can check that out in Episode 15. 

Okay, so here are six of my favourite books… I have four main resources (reference texts), plus two honourable mentions (memoirs about the craft of writing) that I want to share with you today... TUNE IN to this episode to find out what these resources are, and why they're so valuable! 

Resources & links mentioned in this episode:  

Let's chat about this episode:  

Support the show (https://saganmorrow.com/secretpodcast)

Show Notes Transcript

Welcome back to Indie Author Weekly, where I share my behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books. 

If you’re new to this podcast, I am a productivity strategist for multi-passionate creatives at SaganMorrow.com: I help people manage their time and energy effectively, through customized, actionable strategies that work for your unique life and business. When I’m not teaching about productivity to solopreneurs, I spend my time writing romance novels, and occasionally, business books. And that is what this podcast is all about: the adventures of the author life. 

Now let’s get into this episode of the Indie Author Weekly podcast. Today, I want to share just a few of my favourite books that have helped me improve my writing skills over the years. These are great resources if you want to get a deeper understanding of language and how to use it effectively, and also if you want to improve your editing skills. 

By the way, we have a whole episode here on Indie Author Weekly featuring 10 practical tips for editing your own work—you can check that out in Episode 15. 

Okay, so here are six of my favourite books… I have four main resources (reference texts), plus two honourable mentions (memoirs about the craft of writing) that I want to share with you today... TUNE IN to this episode to find out what these resources are, and why they're so valuable! 

Resources & links mentioned in this episode:  

Let's chat about this episode:  

Support the show (https://saganmorrow.com/secretpodcast)

Hello friends! Sagan here. Welcome back to Indie Author Weekly, where I share my behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books. 

If you’re new to this podcast, I am a productivity strategist for multi-passionate creatives at SaganMorrow.com: I help people manage their time and energy effectively, through customized, actionable strategies that work for your unique life and business. When I’m not teaching about productivity to solopreneurs, I spend my time writing romance novels, and occasionally, business books. And that is what this podcast is all about: the adventures of the author life. 

Now let’s get into this episode of the Indie Author Weekly podcast. Today, I want to share just a few of my favourite books that have helped me improve my writing skills over the years. These are great resources if you want to get a deeper understanding of language and how to use it effectively, and also if you want to improve your editing skills. 

By the way, we have a whole episode here on Indie Author Weekly featuring 10 practical tips for editing your own work—you can check that out in Episode 15. 

Okay, so here are some of my favourite books… I have four main resources, plus two honourable mentions that I want to share with you today: 

First, the Chicago Manual of Style. I originally purchased my copy about a decade ago when I was doing a lot of freelance editing for clients, and it is wonderful. It covers so much valuable information! Basically any question you have about punctuation, documentation, when and where to use capital letters, abbreviations, everything is in the Chicago Manual of Style. 

You can absolutely use the Chicago Manual of Style as the foundation for your personal style guide for your own books. 

Second, the Canadian Oxford Dictionary. When you are an author, consistency is one of the most important considerations to take into account. This is especially true for us in Canada, where we tend to use a bit of UK English and a bit of US English. It gets really tempting to accidentally switch back and forth between using 2 l’s instead of one, or adding the “u” to a word like “colour” and then writing it the American way without the “u” later on. 

Inconsistency can be very distracting for readers. As a result, you want to make sure you use the same dictionary every single time! Make notes in your style guide about these decisions you make, too. 

I adore the Canadian Oxford Dictionary and refer to it on a routine basis. It’s my favourite dictionary out there. 

The third book is a text I received in grade 6, I think, when I attended the British School in the Netherlands. It’s GCSE English Grammar: Exam Revision Guide. I loved it at the time! It’s beautifully illustrated, and the information is laid out in really simple terms with clear examples of how to structure a sentence, the difference between adverbs and adjectives, all of that kind of thing. If you want to refresh your memory on the basics of grammar, then I definitely suggest getting a copy of your own. 

The fourth book I’d like to recommend is the Webster’s Compact Writers Guide. It’s a portable little resource that provides a great overview of the conventions of writing. If you don’t want to invest in the Chicago Manual of Style, or you don’t want something quite so comprehensive, or you simply do your work from many different locations and therefore want to carry a smaller book with you, then the Webster’s Compact Writers Guide will be helpful for you. 

Those are the main four books to improve your writing skills. 

Here are another couple I want to give “honourary mentions” to:   

First, we have The Word Detective by John Simpson. This is a memoir by the former chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, so it is absolutely fascinating to get his insights about how language evolves, the way we use it in everyday life, and so on. Love this book. It has so many great insights that you simply won’t find anywhere else. 

The other book I want to mention is a classic that most writers have probably already read: On Writing by Stephen King. He has such a beautiful writing style, and I found it very invigorating and inspiring to read his story and hear his thoughts about writing. If you need a boost to get past writer’s block, you might want to pick up On Writing. 

I highly recommend both of those books if you love language and want some inspiration from extremely knowledgeable writers. 

Okay, there you have it! Six of my favourite books to improve your writing skills—those are basically four reference texts and two memoirs about the craft of writing. And I’ll include all of these books in the show notes to make it easier for you to find them, too.   

Now, I would love to hear your thoughts on this: What are some of your favourite books about writing? What would you add to this list? Do you have any questions about other writing resources? 

Connect with me on Twitter and Instagram, @Saganlives, to chat about it! And you can send me a message on either of those platforms if you have requests for future episode topics, too. The more you tell me what you’d like to see more of on this podcast, the better that I can accommodate that. You can also submit your questions or topic ideas anonymously at SaganMorrow.com/question.   

If you enjoyed this episode, please take 2 minutes to share this podcast on social media and rate it on Apple Podcasts—any time you share it or leave a rating or review, it helps more listeners find the Indie Author Weekly podcast, so every bit counts! I really appreciate your support. 

By the way, you can access complete word-for-word transcripts of this episode and all past episodes, plus sample chapters of my books and a few other bonuses and goodies, on the “secret” version of this podcast. Get access to all of that at SaganMorrow.com/secretpodcast.  

Thanks so much for tuning in to the Indie Author Weekly podcast, and I will see you in the next episode.