Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg

This book is a good place to begin. (And it’s a nice place to revisit too.) Goldberg makes you smile at her antidotes and her ideas can jumpstart your creativity.

The Weekend Novelist by Robert J. Ray

I have a confession to make. I’m a terrible plotter. When my editor first heard me confess this to a group of people, she told me later, “Kimberly, you’re a wonderful plotter.” I said “You don’t see what I go through to create a good plot.” This book helped me with that challenge. Ray uses a plan called Aristotle’s Incline. There are a lot of other exercises that help you write a novel, but this is the one device I took from that book and I continue to use it, today.


Writing On Both Sides of the Brain by Henriette Ann Klauser

Webbing is the most important writing tool that I use. I learned it from Klauser, who calls it “branching.” She also discusses the importance of writing first thing in the morning. This book doesn’t waste space. Everything here can be used and applied to your writing life.


The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

When your starting out, Tharp’s book can help you begin with good habits and when you’ve been at writing a while, her book reminds you of the importance of ritual in a creative life.


Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Most writers know about this book. And I suspect that every writer that has read it identifies with the chapter on first drafts. Why is there such comfort in knowing other writers go through misery, too?


Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway

Burroway’s book has many merits, but my favorite chapter is SEEING IS BELIEVING: Showing and Telling. The section about significant details is excellent and should be read by every writer.


In the Palm of Your Hand by Steve Kowit

This book was recommended by my friend Kathi Appelt. It’s described as a poet’s portable workshop. Kowit serves as the nurturing teacher every aspiring poet deserves. Even if you’re not a poet, any good wordsmith will gain sound advice to enrich his prose.