Welcome to my Resources page! Here you’ll find a list of tools I’ve personally tested and highly recommend for improving your writing, leading a more creative life, and building a writing business.
This page contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase via one of these links, I will be paid a commission at no cost to you, and you will be helping me devote more time to writing books and blogging. Thank you. Now, on to the tools!
TOOLS FOR WRITING
Invisible Ink: A Practical Guide to Building Stories that Resonate by Brian McDonald
If I could only recommend one book on writing, Invisible Ink by Brian McDonald would be it. In fact, I reread Invisible Ink every year. It’s through Brian’s teachings that I’ve learned the simple, but not easy, techniques for writing a good and memorable story. Whether you’re writing a screenplay, a short story, or a novel, get your hands on Invisible Ink. Highly recommended. Read it, absorb it, and become the writer you were meant to be.
The Golden Theme: How to Make Your Writing Appeal to the Highest Common Denominator by Brian McDonald
If I could only recommend two books on writing, I’d recommend Invisible Ink and The Golden Theme by Brian McDonald. Together, these books are what I call “The Holy Grail of Writing Books.” While Invisible Ink will teach you the core elements of story, The Golden Theme will teach you what makes storytelling essential to us as human beings. It is an enlightening, eye-opening book for writers and anyone interested in the human condition. I reread this book all the time, and like Invisible Ink, I can’t recommend it enough.
Ink Spots: Collected Writings on Story Structure, Filmmaking and Craftsmanship by Brian McDonald
I’ve been following Brian McDonald’s Invisible Ink Blog for years. When I heard that he was going to collect his best posts into a book, I knew I had to get it. Brian’s blog posts have taught me so much about the craft of writing, storytelling, and story structure, but also about great movies and what makes these movies great. Whenever I need inspiration, a break from my writing, or am feeling down and need a pep talk, I read one of Brian’s stories in Ink Spots. Takes just a few minutes and then I’m back in the game.
The INFJ Writer: Cracking the Creative Genius of the World’s Rarest Type by Lauren Sapala
The INFJ Writer changed my perspective on how I write and why I write. It felt like Lauren was spying on me, it felt so close to home. She lays out the challenges and advantages of being a sensitive, intuitive writer in such an engaging, funny, and encouraging way. Her book made me feel seen, heard, and understood. I am ENFJ not INFJ, but found a lot I could relate to in this book, and especially enjoyed the chapter that focused just on ENFJs. Highly recommended for all writers that have a NF Myers-Briggs type.
TOOLS FOR CREATIVE LIVING
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
If you’re a writer, artist, or anyone who wants more creativity in your life, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear is for you. After reading this book, I felt inspired, motivated, and ready to get back to writing and living. Liz’s stories gave me the compassionate push I needed to move forward with my scary, yet exhilarating, creative goals. I like to reread this book every time I need a creativity and courage boost.
Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland
This is a short book (just 122 pages) but one that took me a while to read and digest because some of the concepts in it hit me at a deep level. David and Ted, both working artists, understand how hard it is to make art on a consistent basis. They understand the fear that is almost always there during the creative process. Reading this book made me feel more understood and less alone.
Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits by Gretchen Rubin
As someone that’s always looking for the “right” set of habits that will make me a more productive, creative, and happier person, reading Better Than Before was crucial to my development and growth. This book helped me realize there’s not some magical set of habits that will work for everyone. It helped me discover and cultivate habits that work for my personality, preferences, and quirks. I highly recommend Better Than Before to anyone who wants their daily life and habits to support them, not the other way around.
From Coping to Thriving: How to Turn Self-Care Into a Way of Life by Hannah Braime
From Coping to Thriving opened my eyes to the real meaning of “self-care.” As the book details, “self-care is health care.” It took me 20 years of working full time to finally realize that I needed to take better care of myself, and that self-care was not a luxury, but a necessity. At age 44, I started to seriously research and practice self-care, and after months of trying different things, my life and health started to slowly get better. Then I found this book and wished I had discovered it way earlier! It was like the last puzzle piece that I needed. Now, I’m a self-care evangelist. I highly recommended this book to everyone.
The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs
The Simple Living Guide is a great guidebook for anyone who wants to exit the rat race and lead a more creative and fulfilling life. Every time I read it, it inspires and motivates me to go after the life that I want, not the life that others say I should want. Janet’s writing is down-to-earth and funny, and I love her profiles of everyday people who have simplified their lives and are now happier and healthier.
I Will Teach You to be Rich by Remit Sethi
I’ve read a lot of personal finance books over the years so when I Will Teach You to be Rich became a bestseller, I thought, what more could it teach me? Well, it taught me a lot. For one, Remit’s system of making everything automatic has saved me so much time and energy. I now recommend this book to anyone looking for a good personal finance book, but I especially recommend it to people who confess they are “bad” with money.
TOOLS FOR BUSINESS
Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon
I read Show Your Work! in just one sitting, but the lessons I learned from it have come back to me for days, weeks, and years. Austin’s book helped me realize that I needed to stop thinking my writing needed to be great before I showed it to anyone. I learned through his examples and stories how to show my work on a regular basis, and how doing that would help me build an audience over time.
Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur by Joanna Penn
Like many people, I know that making a living from selling books through traditional publishing is like getting hit by lightning. Business for Authors by Joanna Penn is for the rest of us–those of us who realize that it will take a combination of writing good books, self-publishing, traditional publishing perhaps as well, having a web site, marketing, and more to make a good living. It’s a lot of work building a successful writing business, and with Joanna’s tips, I know I can get there.
I used the Fernando WordPress theme by Web Savvy Marketing ($60 at the time that I bought it) to create this site, but in order for the theme to work, it needed to be installed with a framework called Genesis by StudioPress. It cost me $60 and my site has been working great. Click on the StudioPress link above to learn more about the Genesis framework and see the many Genesis-powered WordPress themes that you might want to use for your own site.
When I first set up my site, I worried about losing content through a technical snafu, hackers, and/or web server breakdowns. So, I bought the Backup Buddy plugin, installed it, and set it to automatically back up my website database daily, with a full backup once a month. I get all this, and peace of mind, for only $60 per year.
I love using Acuity to schedule appointments with my writing coaching clients. Clients reserve their own appointments online, so there’s no more time-consuming, back-and-forth emails and checking calendars. It’s easy to use and install on your site. Also, the Acuity staff have a great sense of humor and they even offer a FREE 14-day trial so you can try before you buy. I pay for the $10/month plan–worth every penny!
I hope you find these resources helpful. If you have questions about any of them, contact me.