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The top five no-joke books that totally saved my (creative) life

Apr 20, 2022

Books have been my lifesaver since I was a kid, for sure, but as a writer trying to, well, figure out writing, there have been many along that way that I credit with putting me on the right path. Don’t get me wrong, there are tons of books that I feel like my life is better for having read, and my favorites have shifted over the years. But the five below have consistently been the ones I’ve returned to over and over.

The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron

This book is an ABSOLUTE MUST for anyone who has a creative calling. Julia Cameron’s work is the guiding light toward creative recovery. But it’s not just a book you read, it’s a book you do. It takes a big commitment, but if you get through it I promise your life will change.

Page After Page, Heather Sellers

I found this book a looong time ago during that period in my life when I seemed to forget how to put a sentence on a page despite a graduate degree in writing. It’s a great book of stories and lessons coupled with exercises for each chapter, and if you take the time to do the work, you’ll get your juices flowing again for sure. My favorite chapter? “Dare to suck.”

Turning Pro, Steven Pressfield

I love this series of short essays from the genius author of The War of Art. Steven Pressfield makes no bones about the difference between being an amateur and a pro. “When we were amateurs, our life was about drama, about denial and about distraction. Our hearts were simultaneously full to the bursting point, and achingly, heartbreakingly empty. But we are not amateurs anymore,” he says. “We are different, and everyone in our lives sees it.”

Bird By Bird, Anne Lamott

If anyone can get you inspired, it’s Anne Lamott. Her writing advice is wry and warm at the same time and she mixes in stories from her own relationship with the craft. My copy is highlighted and Post-it noted beyond comprehension and every time I re-read it, I get something new out of it.

Plot Perfect, Paula Munier

I love this book for plotting help. I am not a plotter by nature, and Paula lays everything out in sensible, easily accessible terms that will get your story on the right track in no time.

I hope this list serves you and that you’ll check out at least one of these, if not all of them. I promise it will be worth your while.

Do you have a favorite writing book I didn’t mention? Stop over to my Facebook page and let me know!

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