From Kate's Writing Crate…
I never leave home without my basic writer's survival kit—at least one book, a pen, and a notebook.
In my purse, I carry at all times pocket-sized versions of The Writer's Life: Insights from the Right to Write by Julia Cameron, 6" x 4", and Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg, 4.5" x 3", along with pens and small notepad so I can write anywhere, anytime I have a few moments whether waiting for someone in a restaurant, before a movie, or at a dentist's office.
Watching people in these places is a great way to capture details to use later describing characters. Overheard conversations can lead to plot twists or essays. However, if I'm not inspired by my location, I randomly open either of these pocket-sized books, read a page or two, grab my pen, and start scribbling down thoughts.
In my car, I keep pens, a full-sized notebook, and two books—The War of Art: Break Through Your Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield and Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman—in case I don't bring my purse with me and find myself with time on my hands. This happens once or twice a week.
If I know I am going to have time to write, I bring my lovely black damask-print tote bag always stocked with half a dozen pens, a full-sized notebook, and The War of Art by Steven Pressfield as it never fails to motivate me so I always want it nearby. I then add whatever book(s) I'm currently reading. These books are as essential as the pens and notebook because reading sparks my writing. I don't have time to wait for my muse. I meet her on the path left by the tip of my pen in my notebook.
Frankly, there is never enough time to write. These small pockets of time and my writing kits are what make my writing life possible on busy days.
I wish more writing books were offered in pocket-sized versions. My top choice would be, not surprisingly, The War of Art. Other books would include: The Writer's Home Companion edited by Joan Bolker, Ed.D., For Writer's Only by Sophy Burnham, Zen and the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury, and Telling Lies for Fun and Profit by Lawrence Block. I could go on, but these would make a great start.
If they were pocket-sized, I would always have my favorite writing books with me—a portable cheering section supporting me as I write every chance I get!