From My Bookshelves

For over two decades, I have been collecting books that inspire and motivate my creativity. While many of my early choices were craft books, I have also gravitated toward self-help literature dealing with writing blocks.

Here are ten of my Go-To books:


The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

First released in 1992, this book is a valuable tool for all creatives–writers, poets, actors, painters, musicians–in all walks of life. I have incorporated morning pages and artist dates into my regimen and have also revisited the twelve-week program several times.

Write It Down, Make It Happen by Henriette Ann Klauser

When this book was released in 2000, I faced several family and career challenges. I had already embraced the journaling habit and welcomed suggestions on how to write using both sides of my brain. An easy-to-read book chock full of practical suggestions on how to get the creative juices flowing.

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

At a workshop on nonfiction writing, the instructor joked that she learned more about writing from this book than her four-year degree in journalism. I highly recommend this resource to anyone considering a career in freelance writing. The 30th Anniversary Edition also includes a chapter on writing family histories and memoirs.

The Maeve Binchy Writers Club

Having read all of Maeve Binchy’s books, I was intrigued by the thought of joining her writers club. Using a series of twenty letters, Maeve offers advice and tips gleaned from her own journey and also includes contributions from top writers, publishers, and editors.

The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman/Becca Puglisi

Conveying emotion to the reader is a major challenge for many writers. In The Emotion Thesaurus, the authors provide a variety of physical signals, internal sensations, and mental responses for a lengthy list of emotions listed in alphabetical order.

Create Your Writer Platform by Chuck Sambuchino

While preparing for the launch of my first novel, I bookmarked many articles and posts about platform building. Overwhelmed by the growing number of bookmarks, I was relieved when I learned that author and editor Chuck Sambuchino had written a book filled with expert advice about blogging, websites, social media, and newsletters. I was particularly impressed with the 12 case studies from authors who had built effective platforms.

The Author Training Manual by Nina Amir

I was thrilled when I won this book in a contest. I follow Nina Amir’s blog and bookmark many of her posts. She addresses a range of topics from developing an author attitude to determining whether you are best suited to traditional publishing or Indie publishing. Nonfiction writers will appreciate the critiques of four proposals.

Playing Big by Tara Mohr

The main title caught my eye two years ago and I was even more intrigued by the subtitle: Find Your Voice…Your Mission…Your Message. I’ve reread the chapters on Leaping and Communicating with Power many times. While the focus is primarily on leadership, writers and other creatives will also benefit from Tara Mohr’s inspirational ideas.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

A fan of Elizabeth Gilbert, I enjoy reading her books and posts on Facebook and watching her TED Talks. In Big Magic, she shares her own writing journey and the lessons she has learned along the way.

Writing with Quiet Hands by Paula Munier

Several months ago, a fellow writer recommended this book. When I learned it was written by a woman who is both an author and literary agent, I ordered the book. Paula Munier offers down-to-earth advice on all aspects of writing–from drafts to rewrites to getting published.

Do you have a favorite Go-To book?


Where to find Joanne Guidoccioโ€ฆ

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About Joanne Guidoccio

In 2008, Joanne retired from a 31-year teaching career and launched a second act that tapped into her creative side. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes paranormal romance, cozy mysteries, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.
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20 Responses to From My Bookshelves

  1. This is so valuable, Joanne! Much more that a list of fave books, you’ve shown the value of each to your writing journey. Time for me to order a few titles!

    • Hi Kate, Originally, I thought I would need only two to three books as guides. But after eight years, I realize that the journey is ever-changing and I need to add to my arsenal of resources. Thanks for dropping by. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Ashantay Peters says:

    I’ve not read any of these, though I know others who follow the Artists Way. I’ve considered the EmotionThesaurus, but my library doesn’t have a copy. Darn! Thanks for sharing your list!

  3. Peggy Jaeger says:

    the EMotional Thesuarus is my go to book almost everytime I write!!!

  4. Hi Peggy, I’ve also noticed a difference in my writing since buying The Emotion Thesaurus. A valuable resource for all writers!

  5. Sandra Dailey says:

    The only one I have is On Writing Well, which I love. I’ll have to check out the others. Another one I like a lot is Elements of Style by Stunk and White.

  6. Dawn Ireland says:

    Thank you for the suggestions. I’m always looking to increase my library:) I’m editing right now, and have “The Emotion Thesaurus” right next to me. It’s a wonderful book, especially for revision.

  7. I’ve never read any of these. I am going to have to check some of these out. I find it overwhelming when I got to get a new book, how many are out there, no matter what genre I am looking for. This is helpful to see which ones would be great for me. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Spectacular list, Joanne. Going to have to pick up a handful and get more serious about my craft. You’ve inspired me!

  9. Anne Cleasby says:

    Thanks for that – I love The Emotion Thesaurus, and I’ve just ordered ‘Create Your Writer Platform’. It sounds exactly what I need at the moment….

  10. Thanks for sharing your list. Could I add Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes by Tami Cowden, Caro LaFever, and Sue Viders. The book shows different personality types, their conflicts and what they learn from each other to grow in a relationship.
    Sarah Richmond

  11. Hi Sarah, Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll check out Heroes and Heroines. ๐Ÿ™‚

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