Hi there. How are you?
The creative life can be hard to navigate. Sometimes you need a little guidance or a little encouragement to keep you going. In the past few years, I've noticed a deluge of books on the subject. Working at the public library, I've had a chance to read many books about the creative life, and I thought I'd share my favorites with you.
5 Books for Creative Encouragement
These titles have all provided me with practical guidance on my own creative journey. (Note the word PRACTICAL.) None of these books offer pie in the sky, get famous fast solutions. Instead, think of them as creative pep-talks, each with actionable steps you can take to live your best creative life. They're NOT just for visual artists, but for anyone who has a creative pursuit.
1. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Written by the author of the smash hit "Eat, Pray, Love," this is my absolute favorite book on the list. Though Gilbert discusses her own creative process as a writer, the sage wisdom she doles out is applicable to anyone with a creative pursuit. She encourages creatives to NOT quit their day jobs. When your creative pursuit becomes a job, you've got more pressure to produce and it often takes some of the joy out of it. She also puts to rest the myth of the suffering artist. Making good art doesn't have to be torture!
2. Steal LIke an Artist by Austin Kleon
This is a very quick read filled with practical advice in a graphic style. Kleon purports that "Nothing is original, so embrace influence, collect ideas, and remix and re-imagine to discover your own path. Follow your interests wherever they take you. Stay smart, stay out of debt, and risk being boring—the creative you will need to make room to be wild and daring in your imagination."
3. your inner Critic is A Big Jerk by Danielle Krysa
After reading Danielle's blog "The Jealous Curator" for years and religiously listening to her podcast "Art for Your Ear", I was quick to purchase this book. In her humorous, light-hearted way, Danielle lays out her 10 truths about what it means to be a creative person. Cheeky illustrations by Martha Rich throughout the book bring even more levity to the discussion. Using anecdotes from successful artists and from her own life, Danielle discusses creative roadblocks, like "Imposter Syndrome," when you feel like a fraud, insecure about your art and creation process. (Boy, can I relate?) She also offers simple, practical exercises to help you get over those roadblocks and get down to the business of making good work.
4. show your work by Austin Kleon
In this follow up to Steal Like an Artist, Kleon explains how to "Share Like an Artist." In his signature style, combining handwritten pages, illustration, and text, he lays out 10 ways to share your creativity and get discovered. This is another quick read with actionable advice to help you get your work out there.
5. Growing Gills by Jessica Abel
More than any of the other books on the list, Growing Gills provides a step-by-step process to help you find your creative focus. Complete with a downloadable workbook, this book is like your own private workshop, helping you build focus to finish your creative work.
I've read and re-read these books.
They're all that good! I tend to grab them off my shelf when I'm in an artistic slump or feeling like a fraud again. These little creative pep talks sure do help.
* As an Amazon Influencer, I earn a small commission when you purchase the books I've listed through these links. It's a small way for you to support the work I do. (Thank you!)
Anything I should add to the list?
Do tell! Leave a comment and let me know. I'm always looking for inspirational reading.