on this page you’ll find:
Writer Soul Food
International Housesitting For Writers Info
Mindfulness & Meditation
Additions to your TBR Pile
This page is always a work-in-progress, but you can get my most up-to-date resources on the Inspiration Portal, where I upload exclusive worksheets, guided meditations for writers, inspirational playlists, and more. My newsletter comes out once a month, and that’s where you’ll get even more resources and my favorite links that are helping me right now.
A Few of My Go-To Craft & Creativity Reads
Click below to check out my blog, The Lotus & Pen, where I post regularly on craft, creative process, and how mindfulness and meditation can help you navigate your creative journey.
Every writer needs her go-to’s for the days when the well is dry, the flow is gone, and the heart is heavy.
I started two folders on my computer - one on my desktop and one on my browser toolbar - called Soul Food. This is where I stuff any resources that light me up, re-inspire me, and remind me why I do this whole writing thing. This is where I go on the days when I doubt myself, when I’ve got nothin’. I’ve got something for every mood: articles, videos, podcasts, certain Instagram accounts. Poems, bits of my favorite books…Think of this is your emergency pod when shit hits the fan.
Creating a Soul Food receptacle is easy. Just throw things in whenever they inspire you. Have an ongoing list of links on your browser, throw things in that desktop folder. You can even have a Soul Food section in your writing area - a box with books or trinkets that do the trick. Make it yours. Here are a few of my Soul Food highlights - may they fill your with creative goodness as they do me.
(P.S. There are even more on the Inspiration Portal, which I update on the regular).
Amanda Palmer: If you know me at all, you know I bow to her. She is the epitome of the creative and inspires me daily. I support her monthly via her Patreon and devour her emails and offerings. She inspires the FUCK out of me. I’ve linked to her Insta, but you’d do well to follow her more thoroughly via Patreon. She just might change your life. She reminds me to keep going and of all the possibilities in creative life and work.
Susannah Conway: I love this woman. I’ve taken courses with her and gobble up her annual free offerings, such as her kickass Unravel Your Year workbook that comes out at year’s end, and her Find Your Word course, which is a great way to find your word for the year. She does fun Insta prompts to kickstart your creativity throughout the year, has a lovely and inspiring newsletter, and a beautiful Insta. She’s a creativity goddess.
Carrie Mallon’s Tarot Interpretations: I have few hobbies, but tarot is one of them. I absolutely love it. It’s a huge creative boost. Carrie is my favorite interpreter of the cards. I love her approach, and have even done a private reading with her. When in doubt, pull some cards and get centered. Just looking at the different decks and their beautiful art is a creative boost. (Susannah Conway has AMAZING tarot courses, btw).
Sometimes Up On The Box: Amanda Palmer animated video on the connection between art and artist
Frida: The Julie Taymor movie
Mary Oliver’s reflections on writing: I’ve linked to a great primer via Maria Popova’s blog, but you’d do well to pick up Mary’s book Upstream and dive in, as needed.
Brain Pickings: Speaking of Maria Popova, this is her blog, which is chock full of astounding and beautiful reflections on all things, especially writing and creativity.
in 2018-2019, i embarked on an epic journey of living internationally (and domestically) rent-free for nearly a year. You can do this, too: as a short 2-week stint, or a longer stretch. Even if you have kids. Think your own personal international writing retreat, a cheaper way to do research for a book, a break to fill your creative well.
This is the ultimate creative life hack for writers.
:: In this time, I wrote four books, did deep research for two of them that required i visit archives and sites in three countries, and paid off nearly all my debt (rent-free, remember?). On the way, I visited some of the wonders of the world, crossed a few things off my bucket list, traipsed about beautiful cities, played with some great animals, and lived in other people’s international homes. I even, for a time, had my very own English garden. ::
To aceess links for everything you need to begin your journey, please go to the Inspiration Portal. For extra inspiration and to see what the daily life of housesitters are like, head over to my Sits Ahoy! Insta that my husband posts to regularly when we’re abroad.
The Best self planner helped me write a whole book - 149k words - in one month. And nearly half a million words in less than a year.
Full disclosure: I love this planner so much that I became an affiliate. If you do decide to snag a Best Self for your best self, then here is my personal link.
I love this baby SO MUCH. I encourage all my writer friends, students, and clients to get this. A planner is a personal choice, so you have to choose the one that's right for you (I used to be really into the Passion Planner, which is also great, but made me hustle too hard). This one is based in positive psych, so it has a combo of healthy goal setting with opportunity for daily reflection, gratitude both morning and evening, as well as a quote, and hourly schedule. It's quarterly, which is super helpful for reaching your writing goals. It breaks things down so they feel attainable. I feel a lot less overwhelmed with it. It's really amazing (and pretty!). Check out the website for a free download to try it before you buy it. Let me know if you have questions!
We could really go down the rabbit hole here.
Which is why I’ve only chosen a few things to get you some help on your journey. My big advice is to not spend too much time obsessing over publishing if you’re still trying to get a book out and get better at your craft. That being said, the biggest lesson I’ve learned in this business is that you have to be your own advocate. Knowledge is power. And remember: at the end of the day, writing comes first.
Note: as usual, there are lots more resources in this arena on my Inspiration Portal.
Join SCBWI, the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators: It made me feel super legit to join (you don’t have to be published to do so), and they have loads of support and resources, and a great community. This is how I found my first writer’s group, went to my first writing workshop, and learned the ins and outs of publishing in the kidlit world.
Get The Hot Sheet: Jane Friedman is a great source of publishing know-how, and her Hot Sheet is well worth the modest annual fee. This is how I keep abreast of major shifts in publishing, what’s new in the pub world in terms of tools for writers, and results of studies done for marketing etc. A HUGE help, and a one-stop-shop. Her website and newsletter are great, too.
Join the Author’s Guild: This is how I learn more about my rights as an author and get the skinny on grants and residencies available to me. It gives me a sense of solidarity and like I’m getting my power back from the sharks out there. They advocate for us and I love being educated through their amazing newsletter. They have so many benefits for authors and we NEED them, so please consider getting a membership. You won’t regret it! Bonus: you get a discount on the Hot Sheet when you join the Guild!
Susan Dennard’s newsletter: SHE IS THE BEST. I love her deep insight into publishing. She is so helpful with craft tips. She really puts a ton of effort into this newsletter and I always benefit. Plus, you get a download of how to write a query when you sign up, if you’re in need of that.
Query Shark: This is a great resource for figuring out how to make your query sing.