Positive Writer

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Ten Books on Writing and Creativity for your Christmas Shopping List

Need stocking stuffers that actually mean something and will make a difference in people’s lives? I thought so. Me too. So I went looking and I found some!


I hope you’ll do me the honor of extending the list in the comments, giving me and fellow readers more gift ideas. And, hey, you know, perhaps to add to our own to-read lists as well.

(Click on any of the cover images to go to their respective pages on Amazon.)

The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do

By Jeff Goins

The Art of Work by Jeff Goins

The path to your life’s work is difficult and risky, even scary, which is why few finish the journey. This is a book about discovering your life’s work, that treasure of immeasurable worth we all long for. It’s about the task you were born to do.

As Jeff Goins explains, the search begins with passion but does not end there. Only when our interests connect with the needs of the world do we begin living for a larger purpose. Those who experience this intersection experience something exceptional and enviable. Though it is rare, such a life is attainable by anyone brave enough to try.

Through personal experience, compelling case studies, and current research on the mysteries of motivation and talent, Jeff shows readers how to find their vocation and what to expect along the way. Get your copy here.

The 12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction: Your Blueprint for Building a Strong Story

By C. S. Lakin


The 12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction, by C.S. Lakin, takes the mystery out of building a solid story and shows you how to go from idea to complete novel in practical, easy-to-understand steps. Build smart!

Over and over, struggling writers make the same fatal mistakes in their manuscripts. Even writers who have studied all the best writing craft books and taken workshops and followed writers’ blogs still don’t get the structure.

Truth is, a lot of writers believe they can write a novel without taking time to learn the nuts and bolts of novel construction. Just as with building a house, writers need to adeptly wield the proper tools and materials, and follow structurally sound rules if they hope to “build a novel.” Get your copy here.

Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work, and Never Get Stuck

By Jon Acuff

Do Over Jon Acuff

New York Times bestselling author Jon Acuff has drawn millions of online fans who love his refreshing mix of humor, honesty, and wisdom about the world of work. Now he offers his most important book yet, a guide to making big career changes—by choice or necessity—and escaping the horrible feeling of being trapped in the wrong job.

Throughout Do Over, Acuff features inspiring and funny true stories—not merely his own, but those of friends who restarted their careers after a layoff, an extended maternity leave, or simply the realization that they were suffering fifty weeks a year just to pay the bills and enjoy two weeks of vacation.

Everyone can benefit from Do Over, from new graduates to fiftysomethings and beyond. Get your copy here.

The School of Greatness: A Real-World Guide to Living Bigger, Loving Deeper, and Leaving a Legacy

By Lewis Howes

The school of greatness

In The School of Greatness, Howes shares the essential tips and habits he gathered in interviewing “the greats” on his wildly popular podcast of the same name. In discussion with people like Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson and Pencils of Promise CEO Adam Braun, Howes figured out that greatness is unearthed and cultivated from within.

The masters of greatness are not successful because they got lucky or are innately more talented, but because they applied specific habits and tools to embrace and overcome adversity in their lives. Get your copy here.

VOICE: The Secret Power of Great Writing

By James Scott Bell

Voice by Jason Scott Bell

What is the single greatest secret to a breakout writing career?

It’s VOICE. Everyone talks about it, yet no one seems able to define it. Voice has therefore been the most elusive aspect of the entire writing craft to teach. Until now.

In this book, #1 bestselling writing teacher James Scott Bell reveals the true source of voice, and what any writer in any genre can do to capture it for their own work. Get your copy here.

Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing

By Libbie Hawker

Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker

In this instructional ebook, author Libbie Hawker explains the benefits and technique of planning a story before you begin to write.

She’ll show you how to develop a foolproof character arc and plot, how to pace any book for a can’t-put-down reading experience, and how to ensure that your stories are complete and satisfying without wasting time or words. Get your copy here.

Conquering Writer’s Block and Summoning Inspiration: Learn to Nurture a Lifestyle of Creativity

By K.M. Weiland


(Technically published in 2014, but in December! So, almost 2015.)

In this encouraging e-book, award-winning author K.M. Weiland shows you how to nurture creativity and put it at your summons, rather than the other way around. Get your copy here.

Meaningful: The Story of Ideas That Fly

By Bernadette Jiwa

Meaningful: The Story of Ideas That Fly by Bernadette Jiwa

We don’t change the world by starting with our brilliant ideas, our dreams; we change the world by helping others to live their dreams.

Meaningful: The Story of Ideas that Fly, by Bernadette Jiwa, is the story of the people who embrace them, love them, adopt them, care about them and share them. Successful ideas are the ones that become meaningful to others—helping them to see what’s possible for them.

Our ideas fly when we show others their wings. Get your copy here.

The 8-Minute Writing Habit: Create a Consistent Writing Habit That Works With Your Busy Lifestyle

By Monica Leonelle

8 minute writing habit

Monica Leonelle digs into the best literature on forming habits and shares the top strategies professional authors are using to make sure they write each and every day. Each tip is easy to implement and will get you writing more in the “in-betweens”—the inactive moments of your life where you are commuting, waiting in line, or otherwise physically stuck with your brain unoccupied!

If you’ve struggled to find time to write due to a day job, family, or an active, busy lifestyle, this book will help you clear your blocks around writing for good and get you writing more often, just a few words at a time. Get your copy here.

How to Make a Living with Your Writing: Books, Blogging and More

By Joanna Penn

How to Make a Living with Your Writing: Books, Blogging and More by Joanna Penn

Joanna Penn shares with you how I make a six-figure income from writing books, blogging and marketing in an ethical manner. Get your copy here.

And one for the road:

Start Here: 40 Freelance Writers Share How They Find Clients, Stay Motivated & Earn Well Today

By Multiple Authors and edited by Carol Tice

freelance writers

Think it’s impossible to break into freelance writing and earn well today? This book will change your mind! Packed with advice from writers who have gotten their start in the past two years, Start Here: 40 Freelance Writers Share offers real-life success stories and actionable, practical tips you can use to get started earning as a writer now. Get your copy here.

Bonus, don’t forget my new book, Inspired Writer:


Would you like to recommend a book? Great! Share in the comments.

Now go, create magic with your words!

About Bryan Hutchinson

I'm a positive writer and when that doesn't work, I eat chocolate. I help fellow writers overcome doubt and thrive! In my free time, I love visiting castles with my wife, Joan. Join me on Twitter and Facebook.

  • Ruth Schiffmann

    Great list! I’d like to add Book Architecture, How to Plot and Outline Without Using a Formula, by Stuart Horwitz. It’s completely changed the way I think about story.

    • Interesting – that’s a new one to me, I’ll check it out. Thanks!

  • Wonderful list, Bryan. I’ve read half of these, but will check out the other. Another great writing book I discovered this year is, “The Story Grid – What Good Editors Know,” by famed editor Shawn Coyne (he’s Steven Pressfield’s editor).

    The Story Grid is teaching me to do a better job of editing my own writing, especially my fiction. Check it out.

  • Curiouser Editing

    Awww! I have quite a few of these books. Jon Acuff’s book is very special to me, as I’m part of his 30 Days of Hustle group, have met him in person, and spoke at his Launch Out conference. He is truly my hero.

  • Nicole M

    Here’s one from my wishlist: The Writer’s Adventure Guide: 12 Stages to Writing Your Book by Beth Barany. I’ve taken her Plan Your Novel course and found it very helpful. Also, KM Wieland rocks!

  • K.M. Weiland

    Thanks so much for the shout out, Bryan! Totally appreciate it. There are some great books here I need to check out.

  • Nice overview of some great books. Another one more for marketing vs. writing is Your First 1000 Copies by Tim Grahl.

  • Renia Carsillo

    Great list Bryan! I’ve read most of these and am reading The School of Greatness right now. Any of these would be a welcome addition to a writer’s collection.

  • Great list. I’m a big fan of Sean Platt’s Write. Publish. Repeat. as well. Still waiting on my copy of Lewis Howe’s book to arrive.