Part of staying creative is being deliberate about cultivating inspiration. While there are many ways to do this, one of my favourite is reading books.
I am always looking for old and new books to provide ideas, inspiration, and insights that help with all of the different areas of my life. I enjoy reading books that encourage me to ask questions, that motivate me to look within, and explore different ways to push my creative limits.
Art making is a process of growing and stretching beyond our comfort zones. It requires ongoing commitment to personal growth and I believe reading is an invaluable investment for expanding our understanding of both ourselves and the world around us.
Whether you are a practicing artist, or simply wish to live a more creative life, these books will help you to embrace the benefits and challenges of following a creative path.
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles By Steven Pressfield
Is there something that you wish to create — a project you are longing to begin, a business you want to launch, but you’re afraid to make a start? Do you feel like something is holding you back?
The biggest obstacle in our way is Resistance. Pressfield defines it as a mysterious force within us that works to sabotage our dreams and abilities, and prevents us from creating the life that we want to live.
Whether you are an artist, writer or entrepreneur, learning how to manage fear and self-doubt is critical to success. I think this book offers great insights into the complexities of the creative process and the mindset that is required to live a creative life.
“The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” — Steven Pressfield
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead By Brené Brown
Through her research, Brené Brown illustrates how being vulnerable allows us to live a more wholehearted life.
Brown unpacks notions of shame, helping us to better understand ourselves and others so that we can become more compassionate towards each other.
Daring Greatly is one of the most profound and most impactful books that I have ever read, and it has encouraged me to embrace vulnerability in both my daily life and in my art.
This book provides invaluable tools to unlock one’s authentic self and to lead a more fulfilling life with resilience and perseverance.
“Connection, along with love and belonging, is why we are here, and it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.” — Brené Brown
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear By Elizabeth Gilbert
If you are an artist of any kind, and have recently found it difficult to be creative, than I highly recommend you read Big Magic.
Gilbert takes us through the depths of her creative process and offers valuable insights into the mysteries of inspiration. She also discusses the emotion and essence of fear and explores the notion that we must live a life through curiosity rather than fear.
Big Magic is a book for all types of creatives who need a bit of inspiration in their craft. Reading this book has made me reflect on my creative journey and has reminded me to stay hungry, dedicated and passionate despite the challenges and obstacles.
“You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.” — Elizabeth Gilbert
Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles & Ted Orland
This book is a must read for every artist. It explores the process of creating art, and the universal obstacles and insecurities that we all experience as artists, no matter our experience level.
The authors address important issues such as self-doubt, fear, perfection, expectation, amongst many others, and how these can hinder our development as artists and prevent us from creating our best work.
Art & Fear is a practical and insightful book that I like to revisit many times. It empowers me to acknowledge my fears and insecurities, and encourages me to share my work more openly without the need for acceptance or approval.
“Becoming an artist consists of learning to accept yourself, which makes your work personal, and in following your own voice, which makes your work distinctive.” — David Bayles & Ted Orland
Have you read any of the books above? Do you have a favourite book you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about it in the comments box below.
Thank you for reading.