Author of Metaphysical Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution, etc.



Why? +On Craft + On Creative Process + Literary Travel Memoirs+ War & Peace

Again, why reinvent the wheel? Or, to use another analogy, why speed into unknown territory with no map nor a word (or ten thousand) of advice from those who have been there?

As writers we can learn from other writers, and also painters, filmmakers, athletes— in sum, anyone who sets out to do, and keep on doing, extraordinary things when the world, alas, does not always respond in a timely or generous manner.

Brown, Rita Mae: Starting From Scratch: A Different Kind of Writer's Manual

The chapter on Anglo Saxon and Latin is especially useful.

Burnham, Sophy, For Writers Only

Easy to dip into. Wise words.

Baum, Kenneth, The Mental Edge: Maximize Your Sports Potential
with the Mind-Body Connection

Also applicable to writers. Read my mini-review and commentary here.

Benke, Karen, Rip the Page! Adventures in Creative Writing
For creative childrenof all ages. Read her guest-blog post for "Madam Mayo" here.

Cameron, Julia, The Artist's Way

New Agey and at the same time highly practical.

— , The Sound of Paper: Starting from Scratch
Thoughtful, elegant, and inspiring mini-essays.

Dillard, Annie, Living by Fiction

A book about the world.

Flack, Audrey, Art & Soul: Notes on Creating
Deep. The artist as shaman.

Friedman, Bonnie, Writing Past Dark: Envy, Fear, Distraction, and Other Dilemmas in the Writer's Life
From the trenches.

**Gilbert, Elizabeth. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
Wondrously, brilliantly wonderful.

*Goldberg, Natalie, Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within
A very popular book. Packed with fun writing exercises.

*Iglesias, Karl, The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters: Insider Tips from Hollywood's Top Writers
I'm not a screenwriter (yet), but I love this book. It was like reading about distant but kindred tribe. Lots of useful tips.

*Lamott, Anne, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Hilarious. For anyone at any stage in their writing.

**Leonard, George, Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment

Maisel, Eric, PhD., Fearless Creating: A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting and Completing Your Work of Art
Dr Maisel specializes in helping artists, and he's a prolific writer himself. There is a great deal of wise advice in this book.

Mayo, C.M. "On Seeing as an Artist or, Five Techniques for a Journey to Einfuhlung."
Transcript of remarks for the panel on "Writing Across Borders and Cultures," Women Writing the West conference, Santa Fe, New Mexico, October 15, 2016.

*Palmer, Amanda, The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help
It might seem that this book is about about asking for help and money and then, as Palmer puts it, "taking the donuts." But it's really about something far more profound: the artist as shaman.

**Newport, Cal, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World.
Outstanding advice from a successful academic and best-selling author.

**Pressfield, Steven, The War of Art: Winning the Creative Battle
The best. If you're blocked and you want to buy one book to help yourself, this is the one.

**Ricco, Gabriele Lusser, Writing the Natural Way: Using Right-Brain Techniques to Release Your Expressive Powers

Rhodes, Richard, How to Write: Advice and Reflections
Good advice from a highly accomplished and prolific writer.

*See, Carolyn, Making a Literary Life
Good advice from another highly accomplished and prolific writer -- this one from LA. It's a hoot.

Ueland, Brenda, If You Want to Write: A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit
A classic. Very popular with many of my writing workshop participants.

** Top picks
*Very highly recommended