All posts by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge

Poemcrazy Makes the List

Signature Reads recently published their updated list The 28 Best Books on Writing and I’m honored that my book Poemcrazy made the list.

Here are the first ten:

The Forest for the Trees

An Editor’s Advice to Writers
Betsy Lerner

For both established and prospective authors alike, the publishing house can seem like a jungle. Luckily, Betsy Lerner is here to lead a safari, citing her vast collection of experiences as an editor as her field guide. The Forest for the Trees motivates writers by helping them get over their fear of the unknown. It’s less about taming the wilderness and more about facing the demons of self-doubt and sloth that live in every person’s own mind.

The Elements of Style Illustrated

Strunk, White, Kalman

William Strunk and E.B. White’s The Elements of Style is so widely known that we’re sure you already have a copy, but of course we had to mention it. The only style guide to ever appear on a bestseller list, this book should be your go-to if your writing is in need of an infusion of clarity. Plus, this particular edition is illustrated by Maira Kalman, adding a visual element of style to the classic.


Story Engineering

Larry Brooks

Larry Books turns a technical eye to the writing process in Story Engineering. If you don’t properly plan out your story prior to setting pen to paper, he argues, your storytelling won’t be as effective as you’d like it to be. To remedy this, he takes readers through six core elements of storytelling: concept, character, theme, story structure, scene construction, and voice.

Naked, Drunk, and Writing

Shed Your Inhibitions and Craft a Compelling Memoir or Personal Essay
Adair Lara

Adair Lara’s Naked, Drunk, and Writing is a must-read for any memoirist or personal essayist. With experience as a teacher, editor, and, of course, writer, Lara’s know-how will help readers through problems like how to face your family after they’ve read your work and how to find an agent who will fight for you. The perfect mix of tough love, comic relief, and passion, Lara’s book is invaluable for anyone who needs a little help telling their story.

How to Write a Damn Good Novel

James N. Frey

James N. Frey’s overarching guide will be of use to both the novice and the seasoned, published writer. He provides advice for how to overcome writer’s block and fear of the blank page, how to turn a critical eye to your own writing, and more. Frey’s book is one to keep within arm’s reach while writing, to grab during those moments when you need to take a step back from your work and get back to basics.


Bird by Bird

Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott knows from writing. She’s the author of seven novels (with one on the way) and nine works of nonfiction – many of them bestsellers. In Bird by Bird, her 1994-published book on the craft of writing, Lamott addresses how to get started, accepting the shittiness of a first draft, writing groups, writer’s block, how to know when you’re done and more. Her words, advice, insight are priceless.



Freeing Your Life with Words
Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge


Though some may be able to simply sit back and pull a poem from thin air, that’s not the case for most. Writing workshop leader Susan G. Wooldridge taps into her own experience writing and helping others write to share this compilation of prompts, ideas, and more. Poemcrazy is a guide that any budding poet will find valuable.


The Writing Life

Annie Dillard

Annie Dillard, winner of the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction for her book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, published The Writing Life in 1989. In this book, Dillard presents a unique view on what it means to be a writer in a way that is accessible and relatable to both amateur and seasoned writers. It’s no wonder that Maria Popova calls the book “timelessly wonderful.”


The War of Art

Steven Pressfield

In the creative process, oftentimes it is our own inner self who acts as our worst enemy. When up against self-doubt, the little naysayer in the back of your mind, how does one overcome and move past it? Steven Pressfield, author of The Legend of Bagger Vance and a number of other novels and eight works of nonfiction, addresses this very question in The War of Art.


Walking on Water

Reflections on Faith and Art
Madeleine L’Engle; Preface by Sara Zarr

Madeleine L’Engle has mastered the art of weaving faith into fiction. In Walking on Water, the late author explores what it means to be a Christian artist, and touches on the influence of science on her writerly life. This is, truly, a book that will hold appeal for writers and readers alike, as it sheds light upon the mind of one of this last century’s most talented writers.


See the rest of the list at Signature Reads

Soulfood Joytime with Susan and Alexandra Karacostas

Join Alexandra Karacostas and Susan Wooldridge
by the creek in Butte Creek Canyon for
Soulfood Joytime –Exploring our Inner Landscape with Poetry and Astrology 
 10am-4pm, Sunday, Aug. 7
Light lunch provided…. bring snacks to share, bathing suit and towel
Our writing/self-illumination workshop will bring joy as well as a revitalizing practice to our daily lives.  Individual “depth soundings” will help us dive into who and where we are now. We will uncover what holds us back and where we may push through with love and trust. Together we will explore in poems and astrological observations how to best connect with the divine joy that resides within us!
This workshop is limited to 9 participants, so sign up soon. To learn more and sign up, contact Susan, or Alexandra, or go to and


just learning how to navigate wordpress, thanks for being patient.  More soon,  love,  Susan

And now, chapters emerging.  One called Hidden in the Open and another called Cesar Stealing Words.     …..

Welcome to the Wordpool


Welcome, and thanks for visiting my website.

I’m happy to report that a new book about land and language is taking shape. I love the process and will do my best to report as chapters appear. My most recent chapters are about scratch paper and stealing words.

poemcrazy_cover_smallpoemcrazy: freeing your life with words

Meanwhile, poemcrazy: freeing your life with words (in a 26th printing!) has a life of its own and continues to bring surprise and delight into my world. It may well have brought you here today!   Poemcrazy is now available as an audiobook from

Listen to me reading poemcrazy.

foolsgoldFoolsgold: Making Something from Nothing (and freeing your creative process)

Foolsgold seems to help people loosen up and encourage their hidden artist to come out to play.

bathing_with_ants_cover_smallBathing with Ants

Bathing with Ants (my small chapbook of poems) has invited a trail of Argentinian ants into my house. Be careful what you name your books! Luckily these ants don’t bite and for now my kitchen is immaculate.

If possible, support a local bookstore and order books there. You might suggest they order several copies! Or if you want to order online, check out Lyon Books or Barnes and Noble online.

For more information on each of my three books, click on the book links.

New workshops are being scheduled in northern California this winter and spring. Check the calendar for times and places.

I’d love to visit your town, local library, living room (or kitchen!) for a workshop from two hours to two days. Contact me for creative play/writing evening, day or weekend retreats. Have pens (plus fool’s tools) will travel! My rates are reasonable (and flexible). I love to work with all ages and levels.

I appreciate your comments and notes. Contact me any time.