Some favorite books, resources, and writing tools. I use these myself, share them with clients, and give them to writer friends as gifts.
(This page contains some affiliate links tied to my own accounts. Making a purchase through the links below does not cost you extra, but I will receive a small percentage of the sale as a referral fee. Thank you for supporting my website as I support your creative life.)
Writing sprints focus the mind and discipline attention. Body-doubling (doing a task alongside a partner, even when silent) can be powerful, and structure helps build routines. Here are a few places I go for online writing sprints:
London Writers Hour (free)↗
- Join other writers at 8am M-F in four different timezones. (8am ET, PT, GMT, and AEDT.)
- Hosts start each timed hour-long sprint by reading an inspirational quote about writing or creativity.
- These are free, though they do upsell to a paid “London Writers Salon” online community with additional resources for writers.
- I haven’t found that invitation appealing because the tone here can feel a little too precious for me, personally. But I started attending Writers’ Hour occasionally in 2022 and still pop in sometimes for a little journaling with morning tea!
Caveday (paid) ↗
- Join an unlimited number of near-hourly sprints seven days a week.
- Commit to a sprint in advance and get an automated email reminder.
- Trained hosts sometimes invite you to briefly connect with other participants in breakout rooms to share goals.
- Fun mixed community; I’ve worked alongside med students, novelists, programmers, architects, and one French guy who was painting but didn’t want to show us the artwork, which I respect.
- As a co-working space, it can feel a little corporate/capitalist in here. It’s a “productivity” structure. But I have been impressed by the diversity of hosts and participants, and the simplicity of commitment in each sprint works for me. Caveday is steady, scheduled, and supportive.
- Get a trial month for $1, then pay monthly or annually to stick around. If you qualify for their “financial need” discount, access unlimited sprints for as low as $20/mo.
Writers can learn a lot from other artists. Checking out tactics from another creative discipline can broaden your practice and shake you loose. Here’s something I love on my screen:
The Creative Independent (free)↗
- Interviews with independently-minded creative people including musicians, painters, thinkers, and makers of all stripes about their process and their careers.
- There are plenty of writers, too. If you’re a poet, check out the journalists. If you’re a screenwriter, check out the novelists. Cross-pollinate.
- Browse the website archive at will or get daily emails.
- Ever since my playwrighting colleague Star Finch recommended it to me, I’ve been discovering new voices and refreshing approaches here.
- For example, I love the ideas about truth and contradicting yourself in this interview with poet Nikki Giovanni.
There are lots of books on writing. I’ve read dozens of them. Probably nearly a hundred. Most have a few good morsels to offer. A handful are really damaging and alienating. Here’s my favorite:
- This classic is about getting you present, free, bold, and honest.
- Goldberg practices Zen Buddhism and that philosophy and context informs a lot of her approach.
- It focuses on generative unstructured writing, rather than the “finish your product in 10 days” attitude of many commercial guides.
- This book (1986) has some similarity to the Artist’s Way (1992), but to me this book feels more fierce, raw, and exciting.
- If I hadn’t met this book at age 16, I don’t know who I’d be. It made me a writer.
Support indie bookstores (and me!) by buying it through my bookshop.org referral link above.
Or, find WRITING DOWN THE BONES in a library near you!
This page offers general resources that might be useful for any writer.
Do you wonder what tools or aids might be right for you specifically?
I’d love to help.
Browse my sliding scale one-on-one coaching.
Sessions start at $33.
You can write amazing things with any software. Google Docs is fine but life is easier with better tools. Here’s a favorite program:
Scrivener (free trial)↗
- Scrivener is my personal pick as the best software for any writing project with multiple chapters or sections.
- It helps you switch easily between outline and draft, compare revisions, keep an eye on word count, and keep reference notes at your fingertips.
- I use this for second drafts and structural checks.
- Personally, for longform projects I like to generate a lot of text by hand or in 4thewords (see below), then import everything into Scrivener when it’s time to look at the big picture of how it fits together.
- Ideal for anything over 5,000 words in length.
- You can get a free 30-day trial then keep Scrivener forever for $59.99 if it’s working for you. I fell in love on day three.
I truly believe writing is allowed to be fun, even if you’re dealing with subject matter that breaks your heart. I also believe in using anything that helps you write, no matter if it looks cool or not. Here’s something I use pretty much daily:
4theWords (free trial)↗
(Tip: enter my enter my referral code MUXIV05969 for free stuff.)
4theWords is a game. You complete quests and battle monsters by achieving different word counts (like 500 words in ninety minutes, or 4000 words in two days.)
You have a little cartoon avatar and get rewarded with little cartoon hats, little cartoon pants, and little cartoon accessories and pets.
You can write anything you want. It doesn’t guide the content of your writing, only rewards you for the amount.
One time I used this to draft a difficult monologue about sexual trauma. When I finished, I got a pet dragon.
The game works in your web browser and saves to the cloud. Try it free for 30 days, then keep it for $4/month.
We’ll both get silly imaginary diamonds to spend on silly imaginary hats if you enter my referral code MUXIV05969 when you sign up.