Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

When I was in a writing rut earlier this year, I knew I had to do something about it. Nothing seemed to be working; not the writing prompt idea books and certainly not my Twitter feed, which was filled with “serious” writers pumping out content daily. Meanwhile, I sat facing a blank word document with my heart in my fist.

I blamed myself for falling out of my routine and getting rusty.  Desperate for direction, I searched for books about writing. I knew I had to get back to basics. That’s when I discovered Everybody Writes by Ann Handley, the book all content creators should read.

It’s perfect for all kinds of writers.

Although I originally discovered this book on a copywriting-help quest, it’s safe to say this book is for all kinds of writers. The book is divided into seven different parts, from basic writing rules to publishing do’s and don’ts to writing for social media. 

If you ever felt stuck on coming up with effective social media posts and content, this book has you covered. If you struggle with blog or essay structure, look no further. Everybody Writes covers all kinds of writing in today’s digital world. As long as you are stringing sentences together, this book can teach you something new.

It starts with just general writing tips to ease you in.

As I mentioned earlier, I was in such a writing rut that I just needed to abandon all my expectations and go back to basics. Part 1 is strictly dedicated to “how to write better (and how to hate writing less).” From incorporating humor to liven up your writing to following a writing “GPS,” this whole section explains the little things you can do that go a long way. Successful writing sessions start with a positive attitude and this book opens with plenty of ways to get in the right mindset.

‘Everybody Writes’ by Ann Handley
It touches on editing and grammar, but doesn’t overkill.

Listen: I’m an editor. I love grammar rules and admit to reading grammar books just for fun. However, sometimes I just want to learn how to be a better writer. This book does a great job of incorporating a section on editing and grammar without making you want to pull your hair out (or fall asleep).

In fact, this section was so helpful that I learned a few things I hadn’t learned in your average grammar books. Plus, if the chapter “Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy” doesn’t make you giggle, then nothing will.

It makes you think about publishing and marketing differently.

What most people don’t realize is that social media is a form of marketing. If you write a caption on Instagram, you are participating in marketing. If you are sending a tweet, that’s marketing. You are telling the world who you are in the same way brands and businesses tell the world who they are. This book helps you think about yourself a little differently—before you hit “send.”

While this book goes into thoughts on “oversharing,” one thing I learned myself is that I am sometimes a little too private. Personalities on social media benefit from sharing their world with their followers. To be successfully authentic, it’s beneficial to get a little more personal without crossing over into TMI territory. This book does a great job explaining that careful balance.

It leaves no one behind.

Whether your preferred content platform is Twitter, LinkedIn, or Email, this book does not leave you behind. It offers helpful writing tips for all mediums, platforms, and websites. It even gets to the nitty-gritty of blog writing, like how to come up with the perfect headline. (Also, it explains why Buzzfeed headlines make you roll your eyes, but you still click!) 

Finally, for those who need a little extra assistance when writing, this book even has an extensive list of different productivity tools, style guides, and blog idea generators. 

When reading this book, I highly recommend keeping a pen, pad, and highlighter handy for lots of note-taking. If you’re like me, you’re going to want to remember a lot of things.

What books on writing are your favorites? I want to check out some more!