Are you consumed by the creative spirit?
Perhaps you want to paint a masterpiece or pen the next bestseller…
Luring our muse from its sweaty little dungeon, however, is a tricky business.
Fortunately, many artists have already battled their inspiration demons and emerged victorious, ready to instruct us dilettantes.
So here are the 5 best books on the topic that do just that.
The 5 Best Creativity Books
1. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
Steal Like an Artist is an illustrated guide for young artists and creatives of any kind.
Kleon’s main message is that nothing is original; rather, everything is a remix and is influenced by others.
He then shares insights and ideas on how to be creative and productive in your work, while also maintaining your unique voice and identity.
The book is full of helpful exercises and examples that can be applied to a variety of inspirational endeavors.
One of the things I appreciate most about Steal Like an Artist is that it doesn’t prescribe any one formula or approach to creativity.
Instead, Kleon encourages readers to find their own way, based on their individual strengths and interests.
This makes the book very relatable and applicable to a wide range of readers.
Overall, I found Steal Like an Artist to be an enjoyable, informative read, one which has inspired me to approach my own creative endeavors with more enthusiasm and confidence.
If you’re looking for some helpful tips on how to overcome stage fright and become more productive in your work, then I’d definitely recommend picking up a copy of this book (and checking out his blog)
2. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
The War of Art is a book about conquering the internal resistance that we all face in our creative endeavors.
Pressfield argues that this resistance is a natural force that we must overcome in order to achieve success.
The book is divided into three sections:
- The Resistance – Pressfield outlines the many forms that this force can take, and he provides strategies for overcoming it.
- The Process – here he discusses the importance of developing a routine and making time for your creative work.
- The Vision – in this section he talks about keeping your goals in sight and maintaining your motivation.
According to Pressfield, accepting resistance and embracing fear is crucial in order to succeed as an artist.
He provides advice on how to successfully navigate the path to becoming a professional artist by focusing on the work itself and letting the results be byproducts of effort.
Overall, I found The War of Art to be an insightful read.
Pressfield’s writing is clear and concise, and he provides cold, hard truths that aren’t sugarcoated.
If you’re struggling to find the motivation to pursue your creative dreams, then this book is definitely worth reading.
3. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
The Artist’s Way is a book about creativity, and more specifically, how to unlock your creative potential.
The author, Julia Cameron, is an artist herself, and has written extensively about the creative process, to the point that this book has garnered an almost cult following.
The main takeaway from the book is that we should all be writing morning pages, which is a stream-of-consciousness style journal to help us unblock our creative constipation.
The book is divided into three sections:
- “Creative Blocks,”
- “The Morning Pages,”
- “The Artist’s Date”
In the first section, Cameron discusses the various ways in which people can block their creativity, and offers exercises to help overcome these blocks.
The second section is all about daily rituals that can help you increase your creativity.
The third section is all about creative projects that you can do on your own time.
It’s full of helpful exercises and advice, and I can personally attest to the effectiveness of morning pages.
Overall, I think this is a really great book for anyone who feels blocked subconsciously when it’s time to create – I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to unleash their inner artist!
4. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
If you’re looking for a book to jump-start your creative endeavors, look no further than Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Gilbert takes a holistic and inspiring look at the creative process, emphasizing the importance of embracing fear and uncertainty.
She shares personal stories and anecdotes from her own creative journey, as well as from others she’s interviewed, in order to help the reader understand that creativity is not a magical gift bestowed upon a chosen few but rather something that everyone has access to and can cultivate with practice.
Gilbert provides concrete tips for overcoming creative blocks, such as “making friends with your inner critic” and “practicing self-compassion.”
She also stresses the importance of not attaching one’s self-worth to one’s creations, instead viewing them as simply a means of exploring one’s own creativity.
This was particularly important for Gilbert herself, who had the creative pressure to produce after writing her breakout bestseller, Eat Pray,Love.
Overall, Big Magic is an encouraging and empowering read that will leave you feeling inspired to explore your own projects.
5. Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
Zen in the Art of Writing is a must-read for any creative – aspiring or experienced.
Bradbury’s insights and advice are both inspiring and practical, and his passion for writing is evident on every page.
He offers a wealth of information on various aspects of the craft, from developing a writing routine to creating believable characters to fighting off writer’s block.
Bradbury’s own writing style is both engaging and easy to follow, and he provides plenty of examples from his own work to illustrate his points.
The book is also peppered with quotes from other famous writers, which serve as further inspiration.
Overall, Zen in the Art of Writing is an insightful and helpful guide to writing that will be sure to help any writer take their craft to the next level.
Click here to read my full summary of the book.
There you have it – reading these books might just make you spontaneously break out in song or write an impromptu poem.
If so, I’ll expect my royalties through the post.
Joking aside, unleashing your creative spirit has never been easier and more encouraged, so take these books and run with them!