Reading List: Writing & Creativity

Blogs About Writing

Writing in the Open Spaces by Susan Carter Morgan

Van Gogh’s Ear Anthology

A Sense of Wonder by Dean Masters

Lynn’s Creativity Post by Lynn Wyvill



Ginosko Short Fiction & Poetry: Anthology 1, spring 2012Ginosko is a Greek word meaning to perceive, understand, realize, come to know.  It’s the recognition of truth by experience, and this anthology contains works that range from observations of the natural world to explorations of the darker human subconscious.

Van Gogh’s Ear.  This anthology series breaks new ground by introducing a community of poets, novelists, artists, political activists, celebrity legends, and never-before-heard voices from all walks of life whose work stems from the traditional to the experimental, daring, thought-provoking, and imaginative.


Books About Writing

Poetry As Spiritual Practice by Robert McDowell. Simon and Schuster, 2008. [A beautiful guide to reading and writing poems, with a unique intention: using poetry in your daily rituals, aspirations and intentions. Heartfelt, soulful and extremely edifying!]

Writing the Natural Way, by Gabriele Lusser Rico. Tarcher/Putnam, 1983. [A fabulous and focused guide. The exercises teach you how to cluster, revise, use image and metaphor, and (unique among writing books) to model your own writing after that of other authors.]

The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers, by John Gardner. Vintage Books, 1983. [A thorough and sensitive exploration which will guide your through the bewildering maze of ‘craft-work.’ Includes a really nifty way to construct plot.]

In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet’s Portable Workshop, by Steve Kowit. Tilbury House, Publishers (132 Water Street, Gardener, Maine 04345, 1995. [A really fine guide for the aspiring poet. Addresses issues of creation, revision and ‘getting it out there.’]

Writing on Both Sides of the Brain, by Henriette Anne Klauser. Harper & Row, 1987. [Indispensable.]

Writing from the Inner Self, by Elaine Farris Hughes. Harper Collins, 1991. [Chock full of writing exercises designed to free creativity and help you overcome writer’s block.]

Writing Down the Bones and Wild Mind, both by Natalie Goldberg. Shambhala,1986 & Bantam, 1990, respectively. [Students report that both contain helpful exercises as well as an interesting Zen approach to writing creatively.]

Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott. Pantheon, 1994. [A step-by-step guide on how to write and how to ‘manage’ the writer’s life, from “Shitty First Drafts” through “How Do You Know When You’re Done.”]

Walking On Alligators: A Book of Meditations for Writers, by Susan Shaughnessy. Harper San Francisco, 1993. [A day-book of over 200 stimulating quotes from a variety of writers (Rice, Morrison, Strand, Ackerman), coupled with a short-short essay by the author on various aspects of the writing life. Lovely and inspiring.]

What If?: Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers, by Anne Bernays & Pamela Painter. Harper Collins, 1990. [Teaches “how to do two very different things — write like a writer and think like one.]

On Writer’s Block, by Victoria Nelson. Houghton Mifflin, 1993. [A look at ‘creative silences’ as a positive element in an artist’s growth.]

If You Can Talk, You Can Write, by Joel Saltzman. Warner Books, 1993. [How-to tips for conquering Perfectionism, Paralysis and Procrastination; dealing with the inner critic; and, lots more.]

The Forest for the Trees, by Betsy Lerner. Riverhead Books, 2000. [Interesting, but not for beginners. Read it after you’ve finished your novel or book.]

Writer Tells All: Insider Secrets to Getting Your Book Published, by Robert Masello. Henry Holt, 2001. [Lays out the progress of a book from inspiration to publication and beyond. How to pick the proper agent, etc.]


Books About Creativity

The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. Tracer/Putnam, 1992. [A 12-week course in workbook form, designed to help you work your way through the blocks and repressed issues which keep all of us from fulfilling ourselves creatively. Highly recommended.]

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Harper & Row, 1990. [An astute analysis of the core of the creative act, emphasizing the self-perpetuating pleasure it brings.]

The Path of Least Resistance: Learning To Become the Creative Force In Your Own Life, by Robert Fritz. Ballantine, 1989. [Identifies certain principles common to all creative endeavors, and applicable to your writing or to any other aspect of living.]

Fire in the Crucible: The Alchemy of Creative Genius, by John Briggs. St. Martin’s Press, 1988. [A good overview of the various components of the creative process from an analytical perspective.]

The Courage to Create, by Rollo May. Bantam Books, 1975. [A classic. Emphasizes courage and risk-taking as essential to the creative process.]

The Anatomy of Change, by Richard Heckler. Shambhala, 1985. [Highly recommended, especially if you’re blocked totally or can’t finished what you’ve started or are dissatisfied with the depth of what you write. This East/West approach to body/mind therapy describes an illuminating parallel to the traditional four stages of the creative process.]

The Act of Creation, by Arthur Kessler. Penguin Books, 1964. [Another classic. Kessler’s sweeping analysis brings together the creative underpinnings of comedy, science and art in his famous “Aha, Ah-Ha and Aha!” Response.]

Elegant Choices, Healing Choices, by Marsha Sinetar. Paulist Press, 1988. [A good introduction to the broader ramifications of creativity as a necessary quality of human life.]

If You Want To Write, by Brenda Ueland. Graywolf Press, 1987 (P.O. Box 75006, St. Paul, Minnesota 55175). [An incomparable introduction to writing and the creative process by a writer who believes “everybody is talented, original and has something important to say.”]