Before perusing resources that I know and trust, an important disclosure:
Some links are affiliate, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a small commission (in most cases, about the size of a Starbucks grande cinnamon dolce latte.)
This comes at no additional cost to you.
I will continue to keep this page updated so please check back often!
BOOKS THAT INSPIRE ME
I love biblically sound books that stretch, challenge and inspire me. If you want to read more or purchase a book, simply click on the book title. Check back as I’ll continue to add to the list. Thanks! (I’d love to know what books inspire you.)
God in the Dark: 31 Devotions to Let the Light Back In, by Sarah Van Diest. This new release is not only a keeper, it’s also one that’s meant to be given away. I was delighted to be on the launch team for this book. Although it’s written in a thirty-one day format, you need only read it once to know that it’s a book you’ll want waiting for you every month of the year. I keep my copy with my Bible and read it as part of my quiet time. Prepare to be blessed and to bless as you share copies with those in your sphere of influence who are going through a dark time.
Jesus and the Beanstalk, by Lori Roeleveld There’s nothing fairy-taleish about this book. Lori’s words meander their way around the heart in a way few others do. I worked through this along with my Bible with pen in hand. Each chapter offered thought-provoking questions that left me thinking throughout the day. I wrote a little more about it in this review.
An Unhurried Life, by Alan Fadling. A favorite quote from this book: “Where God puts a period (or even an exclamation mark), the tempter puts a question mark. He adds an if to God’s faithful promises.” This book invites us to reconsider what it means to follow Jesus’ rhythm in life and work. It’s a book to savor.
A Million Little Ways, Emily P. Freeman. If you were to borrow my copy of this book, you’d barely be able to read the words for all the caffeinated underlining. For years, I felt less-than when it came to being creative but when I read Emily’s words on how we are all born to create art and especially this quote, “Creating a life of meaning is not about finding that one great thing you were made to do, it’s about knowing the one great God you were made to glorify–in a million ways” I knew this book would be a companion for years to come.
In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, by Mark Batterson. As one who struggles with anxiety, I found this book to be a game changer the first (and fifth) time I read it. In a Pit challenged me to take risks, something that’s simply not in my DNA. The first time I read it, we were vacationing at the lake. Everyone wanted to go kayaking. I’d planned to stay back and finish this book but instead, I plunked it down, picked up the paddle and had an amazing first experience on the water.
The Circle Maker, by Mark Batterson. I admit to having second thoughts about this one because I’m not a name-it-claim-it kind of girl and at first glance, one could think this is the topic of the book — but it’s not. It breathed fresh biblical air into my prayer life and I re-read it often.
BOOKS THAT HELP ME HONE MY WRITING/BLOGGING SKILLS
This list is just the tip of the writerly iceberg when it comes to resources that continue to help me hone my writing skills. (I need a lot of help!) If you want to read more or purchase a book, simply click on the book title. Check back as I’ll continue to add to the list. Thanks!
Connections, Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers, by Edie Melson. Edie’s blog has made the Top 100 Writing Blogs in Writer’s Digest for 2016 and 2017, along with numerous other awards. While much of the information for social media changes, some things remain the same, like networking with others.
Real Artists Don’t Starve, by Jeff Goins. This is a relatively new book on my shelf so I’m still working my way through it but it speaks to those of us who are trying to make a living with our art, whatever that is.
Writing Voice, from the Editors of Writer’s Digest. Talk about a well-loved book! Each of the thirty chapters is written by a different editor, offering a wealth of knowledge on the much-needed topic, regardless of the genre. The pithy chapters offer a perfect read while I wait in the allergy clinic every week for 20 minutes. With pen in hand, I make notations and feel confident I’ve used my time wisely.
The Little Red Writing Book, by Brandon Royal. Yes, this book was written in 2007 but its twenty principles on structure, style, and readability remain relevant. When I purchased it the year it was released I had no way of knowing how much this little book would impact my writing years later.
Stephen King On Writing. Need I say more? Some of the language isn’t ideal but if you have the discernment to mine his writerly wisdom, you’ll no doubt become a better writer.
Fierce on the Page, by Sage Cohen. Prepareth thyself, for you’ll see Sage’s name more than once on this list. Yes, she’s that good. I was first introduced to her work when I began taking poetry more seriously several years ago. This book is a collection of essays that are sure to inspire you, as it does me, to commit fully to the craft regardless of the genre.
The Productive Writer, Tips and Tools to Help You Write More, Stress Less, and Create Success, by Sage Cohen. This little book is packed with ways to increase your productivity as a writer. Twenty chapters include topics such as capturing your ideas, filing, scheduling, writing with a full-time job, and so much more. It remains close to my laptop 24/7.
Rules for the Dance, by Mary Oliver. My heart almost required resuscitating after learning that one of my favorite poets had penned a handbook for writing and reading metrical verse. If you’re learning to write poetry or simply want to hone your skills, put on your dancing shoes.
Writing the Life Poetic, by Sage Cohen. I have at least fifteen pieces of torn paper tucked into pages acting as bookmarks. Let’s just say that if this book was out of print and I could only carry out five books with me during a house fire, this one would be tucked under my arm as I made a run for it. If you’re a poet or even a poet-at-heart, you will appreciate this book for years to come. It’s one of the most well-loved books on my shelf.
WEBSITE AND BLOGGING RESOURCES
Fistbump Media (Susan Stilwell for all things techie). Dan and his amazing team transferred my blog from Blogger to WordPress with ease (at least on my end) and now they keep my site running smoothly at a budget-friendly rate. I love supporting Christian businesses, especially those who knock it out of the proverbial ballpark. Click here to learn what Fistbump offers.
Mailchimp. I’ve used their service when I created weekly e-newsletters for my church and now I use it to deliver my monthly newsletters to my a-mazing Cultivating Creativity community.
Canva. It’s my go-to site for creating most of my images. With their ready made templates, it’s a no brainer. And did I mention it’s free?
PicMonkey. Because I don’t have Photoshop or Lightroom, I use this site although I’m irritated that they now charge for their services. The price is semi-minimal, but still. You can, however, give their site a try for free (just read the details before signing up!)
ProBlogger. Darren Rowse is a master communicator. Here you’ll find dozens of tips to hone your skills as a blogger. Prepare to hit “Bookmark” more than ever before.
COURSES, ONLINE GROUPS & CONFERENCES
Fistbump Media Learning Center. I took Dan King’s 30 Days to Self Publishing last year while writing my first book. I appreciated the lack of fluff and the attention to details offered in the course. He walks you step-by-step. When I started entering information into the Amazon program (a tad intimidating) his course became priceless. It’s well worth the 29.99, lifetime access. Click here for more information on this course as well as his others like How to Succeed in Blogging, 31 Days to Blog Awesomeness and the Start-up Guide for Online Writers.
Hope*Writers. I’m a charter member of this amazing writer’s community, led by New York Times Bestselling Author, Emily P. Freeman, Dr. Brian Dixon, and Gary Moreland. It’s beneficial for all genres at every stage of the writing process. There is a rich library of resources available to members and it’s the only community I pay for because quite frankly, it’s the only one I need. For more information, check out the site here. If you have any questions, feel free to email me as well. (There are open seasons for membership. If closed, check back again soon.)
Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. I wouldn’t know where to begin in sharing how much this conference has changed my life. I’ve attended every year since 2010. There’s no way to put a price tag on the things I’ve learned, the friends I’ve made, and the contacts/networking that’s taken place over the years.
TINY HOUSE // LIL’ RED WRITING HOUSE
The Small House Book, by Jay Shafer. I’ve had this book for years. It was my go-to dream guide for one day owning/building a tiny house. Now that we are currently building one in our backyard it’s been helpful in perusing the details. It shows numerous tiny houses and it includes vital information such as form, proportion, trailer basics, etc. And I personally love the images throughout the book.
The Tiny House. I’ve found Ethan Waldman’s site to be downright delightful. He covers a multitude of tiny information and offers a free cheat sheet that has been very helpful to us.
Tiny House Talk. With everything going on in our world today, seeing this newsletter pop up in my inbox is refreshing. Whether you have a tiny house, want a tiny house, or are in the process of building one, you’ll find lots of inspiration here. Alex knows his stuff!
Keep checking back as I’ll continue adding new resources as the build continues. Thanks!
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