Books for the Aspiring Writer

Exercises, Prompts, and Practical Strategies

Allen, Roberta. Fast Fiction: Creating Fiction in Five Minutes. Story Press (Cincinnati, OH: 1997).

___________. The Playful Way to Serious Writing. Houghton Mifflin Company (Boston: 2002).

Behn, Robin and Chase Twichell, eds. The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises from Poets Who Teach. Harper Perennial (New York: 1992).

Bell, Madison Smartt. Narrative Design: Working with Imagination, Craft, and Form. W.W. Norton (New York: 1997).

Berg, Elizabeth. Escaping into the Open: The Art of Writing True. HarperCollins (New York: 1999).

Bernays, Anne, and Pamela Painter. What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers. HarperCollins (New York: 1995).

Brandeis, Gayle. Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write. San Francisco: Harper. 2002.

Brown, Bill, and Malcolm Glass. Important Words: A Book for Poets and Writers. Heineman (Portsmouth, NH: 1991.

Burroway, Janet. Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft (Sixth Edition). Longman (New York: 2003).

Clark, Tom, et al., eds. The Writer’s Digest Handbook of Novel Writing. Writer’s Digest Books (Cincinnati, OH: 1992).

Cole, Joni B. Toxic Feedback: Helping Writers Survive and Thrive. University Press of New England (Hanover, NH: 2006).

Davis, Jeff. The Journey from the Center to the Page: Yoga Philosophies and Practices as Muse for Authentic Writing. Gotham Books (New York: 2004).

Diaz, Adriana. Freeing the Creative Spirit. Harper (San Francisco: 1992).

Editors of Story Press. Idea Catcher. Story Press (Cincinnati, OH: 1995).

Ellis, Sherry. Now Write!: Fiction Writing Exercises from Today’s Best Writers and Teachers. Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin (New York: 2006).

Epel, Naomi. The Observation Deck: A Tool Kit for Writers. Chronicle Books (San Francisco: 1998).

Fox, John. Finding What You Didn’t Lose: Expressing Your Truth and Creativity Through Poem-Making. G.P. Putnam’s Sons (New York: 1995).

________. Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making. Jeremy Tarcher/Putnam (New York: 1997).

Frank, Thaisa, and Dorothy Wall. Finding Your Writer’s Voice. St. Martin’s Press (New York: 1994.

Goldberg, Bonni. Room to Write: Daily Invitations to a Writer’s Life. G.P. Putnam’s Sons (New York: 1996).

Goldberg, Natalie. Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life. Bantam Books (New York: 1990).

______________. Writing Down the Bones. Shambhala Publications (Boston: 1996).

Gotham Writers’ Workshop. Writing Fiction. Bloomsbury (New York: 2003).

Heard, Georgia. Writing Toward Home. Heineman (Portsmouth, NH: 1995).

Heffron, Jack. The Writer’s Idea Book. Writer’s Digest Books (Cincinnati, OH: 2000).

___________. The Writer’s Idea Workshop. Writer’s Digest Books (Cincinnati, OH: 2003).

Hemley, Robin. Turning Life into Fiction. Story Press (Cincinnati, OH: 1994).

Henry, Laurie. The Novelist’s Notebook. Story Press (Cincinnati, OH: 1999).

Hood, Ann. Creating Character Emotions. Story Press (Cincinnati, OH: 1998).

Hughes, Elaine Farris. Writing from the Inner Self. HarperCollins (New York: 1991).

Kiteley, Brian. The 3 A.M. Epiphany. Writer’s Digest Books (Cincinnati, OH: 2005).

Kowit, Steve. In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet’s Portable Workshop. Tilbury House (Gardiner, ME: 1995).

Jackowska, Nicki. Write for Life. Element (Rockport, MA: 1997).

Lee, John. Writing from the Body. New York: St. Martin’s Press. 1994.

Maisel, Eric. A Life in the Arts. Jeremy Tarcher/Putnam (New York: 1992).

_________ . Deep Writing. Jeremy Tarcher/Putnam (New York: 1999).

__________. Fearless Creating. Jeremy Tarcher/Putnam (New York: 1995).

Marzán, Julio. Luna, Luna: Creative Writing Ideas from Spanish, Latin American, and Latino Literature. Teachers & Writers Collaborative (New York: 1997).

Mason, Margaret. No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog. Peachpit Press (Berkeley, CA: 2007).

Metzger, Deena. Writing for Your Life. Harper (San Francisco: 1992).

Newman, Lesléa. Writing from the Heart: Inspiration and Exercises for Women Who Want to Write. The Crossing Press (Freedom, CA: 1993).

Novakovich, Josip. Fiction Writer’s Workshop. Story Press (Cincinnati, OH: 1995).

______________. Writing Fiction Step by Step. Story Press (Cincinnati, OH: 1998).

Olmstead, Robert. Elements of the Writing Craft. Story Press (Cincinnati, OH: 1997).

Ostrom, Hans, et al. Metro: Journeys in Writing Creatively. Longman (New York: 2001).

Ray, Robert. The Weekend Novelist. Dell Publishing (New York: 1994).

Reeves, Judy. The Writer’s Book of Days. New World Library (Novato, CA: 1999).

__________ . The Writer’s Retreat Kit. New World Library (Novato, CA: 2005).

Rule, Rebecca, and Susan Wheeler. Creating the Story: Guides for Writers. Heineman (Portsmouth, NH: 1993).

Sellers, Heather. Page after Page. Writer’s Digest Books (Cincinnati, OH: 2005).

Shaughnessy, Susan. Walking on Alligators: A Book of Meditations for Writers. HarperSan Francisco (San Francisco: 1993).

Smith, Margaret D. Journal Keeper. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (Grand Rapids, MI: 1992).

Stanek, Lou Willett. Story Starters. Avon Books (New York: 1998).

Staw, Jane Anne. Unstuck: A Supportive and Practical Guide to Working Through Writer’s Block. St. Martin’s/Griffin (New York: 2003).

Wiesner, Karen S. First Draft in 30 Days. Writer’s Digest Books (Cincinnati, OH: 2005).

Williams, Robert, and Michelle Boisseau. Writing Poems. HarperCollins (New York: 1996).

Willis, Meredith Sue. Personal Fiction Writing. Teachers and Writers Collaborative (New York: 1984).

Wooldridge, Susan. poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words. Clarkson Potter (New York: 1996).

The Art of Self-Absorption (Writing About the Self for the Self)

Bielenson, John. The Future Me: Authoring the Second Half of Your Life. Peter Pauper Press (White Plains, NY: 2003).

Biffle, Christopher. A Journey Through Your Childhood. Jeremy P. Tarcher (Los Angeles: !989).

_______________. The Castle of the Pearl. Harper & Row (New York: 1983).

_______________. Garden in the Snowy Mountains: An Inner Journey with Christ as Your Guide. Harper & Row (San Francisco: 1989).

Bykofsky, Sheree. Me: Five Years From Now. Hyperion (New York: 1999).

Hagan, Kay Leigh. Internal Affairs: A Journal-Keeping Workbook for Self-Intimacy. Harper & Row (San Francisco: 1990).

Harris, Maria. Jubilee Time: Celebrating Women, Spirit, and the Advent of Age. Bantam Books (New York: 1995).

Offner, Rose. Journal to the Soul. Gibbs-Smith Publishers (Layton, UT: 1996).

Progoff, Ira. At a Journal Workshop. Dialogue House Library (New York: 1975).

_________. The Practice of Process Meditation. Dialogue House (New York: 1980).

Richardson, Cheryl. Turning Inward. Hay House (Carlsbad, CA: 2002).

Santa-Maria, Maria L. Growth Through Meditation and Journal Writing: A Jungian Perspective on Christian Spirituality. Paulist Press (New York: 1983). 

Segalove, Ilene. 40 Days and 40 Nights: Taking Time Out for Self-Discovery. Andrews McMeel Publishing (Kansas City, MO: 2004).

___________, and Paul Bob Velick. List Yourself: Listmaking as a Way to Self-Discovery. Andrews and McNeel (Kansas City, MO: 1996).

Leaving a Trace (Writing About the Self for Others)

___________. For My Daughter On the Birth of Her First Child. Hyperion Books (New York: 2000).

____________. Mom: A Record Book for You. Havoc Publications (San Diego, CA: 1997).

____________. My Memories. Quillmark (New York: 1984).

Albert, Susan Wittig. Writing from Life Telling Your Soul’s Story. Jeremy Tarcher/ Putnam (New York: 1996).

Colgin, Mary Louise N., and Thea Simons van der Ven. It’s Your Story: Pass it On. Colgin Publishing (Manlius, NY: 1986).

Erickson, Carolly. Arc of the Arrow: Writing Your Spiritual Autobiography. Pocket Books (New York: 1998).

Ledoux, Denis. The Photo Scribe: How to Write the Stories Behind Your Photographs. Soleil Press (Lisbon Falls, ME: 1999).

___________. Turning Memories into Memoirs. Soleil Press (Lisbon Falls, ME: 1993).

Lukeman, Noah. Th Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life. St. Martin’s Press (New York: 2002).

Morgan, Richard L. Remembering Your Story: A Guide to Spiritual Autobiography. Upper Room Books (Nashville, TN: 1996).

Spence, Linda. Legacy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Personal History. Swallow Press (Athens, OH: 1997).

Straus, Celia. The Mother-Daughter Circle. Ballantine Books (New York: 2003).

Wakefield, Dan. The Story of Your Life: Writing a Spiritual Autobiography. Beacon Press (Boston: 1990).

Zimmerman, Bill. My Life (An Open Book).Source Books (Naperville, IL: 2000).

Writers’ Journals, Memoir, Commentary on the Writing Life, Theory

Baxter, Charles, and Peter Turchi, eds. Bringing the Devil to His Knees: The Craft of Fiction and the Writing Life. The University of Michigan Press (Ann Arbor: 2001).

____________. Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction. Graywolf Press (Saint Paul, MN: 1997).

Bender, Sheila, ed. The Writer’s Journal: 40 Contemporary Writers and Their Journals. Delta (New York: 1997).

Boland, Eavan. Object Lessons: The Life of the Woman and the Poet in Our Time. W.W. Norton (New York: 1995).

Dillard, Annie. The Writing Life. Quality Paperback Book Club (New York: 1990).

Friedman, Bonnie. Writing Past Dark. Harper (New York: 1994).

Gardner, John. The Art of Fiction. Vintage Books (New York: 1991).

Goldberg, Natalie. Long Quiet Highway: Waking Up in America. Bantam Books (New York: 1993).

George, Elizabeth. Write Away: One Novelist’s Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life. HarperCollins (New York: 2004).

Kundera, Milan. The Art of the Novel. Harper & Row (New York: 1986).

Kuuisto, Stephen et al., eds. The Poet’s Notebook: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Contemporary American Poets. W.W. Norton & Company (New York: 1995).

Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird. Pantheon Books (New York: 1994)

Levasseur, Jennifer, and Kevin Rabalais, eds. Novel Voices. Writers Digest Books (Cincinnati, OH: 2003).

Mairs, Nancy. Voice Lessons: On Becoming a (Woman) Writer. Beacon Press (Boston: 1994).

Osen, Diane. The Writing Life: A Collection of Essays and Interviews. Random House (New York: 1995).

Pearlman, Mickey, ed. Listen to Their Voices: 20 Interviews with Woman Who Write. Houghton Mifflin (Boston: 1993).

Stafford, William. Writing the Australian Crawl. The University of Michigan Press (Ann Arbor, MI: 1978).

Sternburg, Janet, ed. The Writer on Her Work. W.W. Norton (New York: 1980).

Ueland, Brenda. If You Want to Write. Second edition. Graywolf Press (Saint Paul, MO: 1987).

Zinsser, William, ed. Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir. Houghton Mifflin (Boston: 1987).

Drawing and Other Visual Art

Allen, Pat B. Art is a Way of Knowing. Shambhala Publications (Boston: 1995).

Ashford, Janet, and John Odam. Start with a Scan. Peachpit Press (Berkeley, CA: 1996).

Capacchione, Lucia. The Creative Journal: The Art of Finding Yourself. New Page Books (Franklin Lakes, NJ: 2002).

Edwards, Betty. Drawing on the Artist Within. Simon & Schuster (New York: 1986).

____________. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Jeremy P. Tarcher (Los Angeles: 1989).

____________. The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Workbook. Jeremy Tarcher/Putnam (New York 2002).

Franck, Frederick. The Zen of Seeing. Vintage Books (New York: 1978).

______________. Zen Seeing, Zen Drawing. Bantam Books (New York: 1993).

Ganim, Barbara, and Susan Fox. Visual Journaling: Going Deeper Than Words. Quest Books (Wheaton, IL: 1999).

Hinchman, Hannah. A Life in Hand: Creating the Illuminated Journal. Peregrine Smith Books (Salt Lake City, UT: 1991).

Keyes, Margaret Frings. Inward Journey: Art as Therapy. Open Court Publishing (LaSalle, IL: 1983).

MacKenzie, Gordon. The Watercolorist’s Essential Notebook. North Light Books (Cincinnati, OH: 1999).

Maltzman, Stanley. Drawing Trees Step by Step. First Light Books (Cincinnati, OH: 2000).

Nicolaïdes, Kimon. The Natural Way to Draw. Houghton Mifflin (Boston: 1941).

Stecher, Barbara M. Sketchbooking. DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park (Lincoln, MA: 2001).

Williams, Heather C. Drawing as a Sacred Activity. New World Library (Novato, CA: 2002).


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