My list of books that is a must for all creatives
“The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them.” —Anton Chekhov
Looking for inspiration and encouragement?
As difficult as it maybe, while striking a balance between creating and creative growth, I believe that as artists we must never stop learning, sharing and growing. I personally owe it to the continuous curiosity I have within me and which naturally pushes me to research, read and make notes.
Knowing where to look when you need to gather inspiration or when you are struggling with a creative block, can help you feel like you aren’t alone on this path.
As artists, Sometimes you just have pause and read, it might take it some other way. These are my five favourites, I want to share with you…
1. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
This is not just simply a book that you read, it introduces you to a self-awareness programme which needs patience and commitment. You will have to complete certain exercises and record your sub-conscious thoughts through ‘the morning pages’. If you’re struggling with writer’s block, this is definitely a worthwhile read. Be warned: this book requires active participation as Julia Cameron takes creativity to the level of spirituality. Published over a decade ago, The Artist’s Way is still considered to be among the best books published ever written on developing creativity.
2. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Gilbert describes the book as ‘creative living without fear’. It was practical, helpful, comforting and an inspiring read. I know it will be a book I recommend over and over again to writer and artist friends, and anyone else who wants to live a more creative life. This book, which is all about creativity, recognises anxiety as a part of the creative process, and turning fear into a creative force. There is an Audible version of her book personally narrated by her, in case you want to hear her exiting voice.
3. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
If you have ever experienced a creative block and struggled with creative choices, this book is what you need to read. Have you ever had a great idea with lots of potential—but failed to take action on making it happen? Much of the book talks about the forces of “Resistance.” Think about resistance as the accumulated forces trying to block your creativity. This book may sound a little fierce as most reviews from artists describe it as the much needed nudge that every artist needs.
4. The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
I found this book immensely helpful to maintain a creative discipline, especially in times of uncertainty we are in, where all our schedule was hit by the pandemic. I find it inspiring to read about Twyla Tharp’s daily rituals and creative habits. I understand that this book belongs to the self-improvement genre but it is written by a brilliant choreographer and dancer. Would highly recommend to anyone who wants to be more creative or needs help finding the discipline to give expression to their creative impulses.
5. Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon
This might not feel like a sumptuous read for people who like continuous reading. This book is an amalgamation of advice, anecdotes, and some uncommon sense. This a ‘feel good’ book for an artist who can relate to Austin’s ideas. Some of Austin’s suggestions will validate what your work, some will challenge you to fundamentally to change a creative practice, others will inspire you to get to work immediately. It tempted me to tear some quotes and put his words over my work station. Casual read though interesting.
If you are any kind of creative, getting familiar with the best art books can be really important to keep the creative juices flowing. Art books can both inspire and educate. Go grab a copy and get inspired.