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10 Must-Read Books Every Creative Needs in 2022

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Sometimes all it takes to spark creativity is a little inspiration. It is important to surround yourself with books, especially if you are an artist or writer. Your bookshelf should reflect the work of all those you admire. This creates a mood board of what you want to become and who you are.

Reading is something I believe in. I even challenge myself to read one book per week. Over the years, I’ve come across some titles that I can turn to when I feel stuck, uninspired, or frustrated by my work as a creator.

It’s a great way for you to be inspired, to learn from others in your field, and to motivate yourself to do the best work possible.

Amazon offers a section on creativity with more than 5,000 titles. There are many books available, and here are some of our favorite must-reads that will help you get started on your creative journey.

What does each have in common? We think you’ll agree if you take a few. According to some of the most creative minds in the world, creativity is something that all people possess.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

This book is for all creative writers. Look no further if you are looking for a book that will help you keep your head above water during the difficult and exhausting process of “writing.” Anne Lamott will help you understand your struggles and then remind you why you love writing.

This book can be used by almost anyone. The skills you learn from this book will still be relevant, even if you aren’t proficient in writing e-mails. Lamott reminds us, for example, that great writing begins with a simple sentence. Many writers, and people generally, try to make things more difficult than they need. For example, this sentence is one I wrote to prove a point. It contains a lot of thoughts, but it would have been better if it was broken up and kept it simple.

Sometimes all that is needed to remind us to keep it simple is a subtle but obvious reminder.

The War Of Art By Steven Pressfield

You’re awake in the morning and have just gotten up from your bed. You say to yourself that today, I will sketch and paint, and really make progress towards my creative goals. First, I need to get groceries. I should probably also dust. It’s already mid-afternoon, your creativity is gone and you will probably be better off starting over tomorrow. The voice that tells me to dust that tells me to stop trying to tell me that today was a waste and that I should just give up. Its name is Resistance. That is what The War of Art focuses on.

Stephen Pressfield starts his book by showing all the ways Resistance can rear its ugly head in our lives. Then he gives a plan for combating it to unleash our creative potential. Pressfield emphasizes the importance of recognizing Resistance in order to defeat it. It may change your life.

The Crossroads Of Should And Must By Ella Luna

“Should” refers to what we feel we should be doing or what we are expected to do. “Must” refers to the thing that we want, or what we feel is required. Ella Luna’s book gives us a guide to help us find our true calling, that thing that brings joy and fulfillment. She gives concrete tools to help us discover what we really want. Along the way, she shares inspiring stories from writers, artists, and thinkers who have also walked this path and come out the other side.

The Crossroads of Should and Must explains with beautiful illustrations and powerful writing the importance of making mistakes, of “unlearning”, of solitude, of moving forward, and of following your path.

Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Ever felt so focused on what you were doing that you forgot about anything else? This can temporarily take your mind off all the problems in your life and lead to a more joyful and creative state. It’s as if all your problems have been resolved, and you can fulfill your spiritual purpose.

When I’m absorbed in life drawing classes or writing, I feel the flow. I also enjoy the moments in the pool where muscle memory takes control, and I can glide effortlessly through the water with perfect strokes. It is beautiful, and there is nothing that can compare to it.

Mihaly (I don’t know his surname) explains the state of flow and how to achieve it.

Flow is a book that can transform your life.

Art & Fear By David Bayles

A friend recommended this book to me, and it has since become one of my favorite books. Art & Fear is all a creative person has to say to themselves but doesn’t want to share it with others. It explains the fears that artists have as creators and how they can often hinder our best work. The book also gives clear examples of how you can reframe your fears to make them work for and not against you. Although it is short, its wisdom lies in its simplicity.

It’s simple. If you don’t fear what you create, you will create something of value. Keep going.

Art Inc. By Lisa Congdon

Lisa Congdon is a celebrity illustrator. This is her book. She shares everything you need to turn your art into an income, from organizing all your digital files to finding an agent. It’s all explained clearly and beautifully.

This was the first book I read when I was just starting out. While some of the advice was a bit outdated, it helped me see my creativity as something that people can make a living off of instead of as an unattainable dream. It is important to believe that the goal you have set for yourself is possible and is achievable. I found that book helped me feel confident.

Show Your Work, Keep Going, And Steal Like An Artist By Austin Kleon

Austin Klein gets it. It’s all there. Everything you need to know about creativity. Steal Like an Artist is the beginning. It’s a guide for creatives to find their feet. Austin takes it a step further by encouraging you to get out of your comfort zone to show the world your work in Show Your Work. In his latest edition, Continue to, Austin discusses how to keep your creativity alive over a long career. He also covers the realities and struggles of full-time creative work. You should read his books if you are looking to make a living from art or any other creative work. If you’re anything like me, you won’t be able to put them down.

The Working Woman’s Handbook By Phoebe Lovatt

The ultimate guide to career satisfaction is what this book claims to be. This book is full of insights and ideas to help you build a fulfilling and rewarding creative career, whether as a freelancer, side-hustler, or business owner. Interviews with real women working in the real world are mixed in with all that juicy information. This book has great advice for those who are just starting out or already have a small creative business.

The book contains many prompts and exercises that will help you think about your goals and the best way to get them. Many of the ideas in this book were so appealing to me, I actually tore out a page and taped it to my wall.

Things Are What We Make Of Them By Adam J. Kurtz

Things Are What We Make of It is a hand-written, heartfelt book that serves as a rallying call for creatives and reminds us that we’re not in this alone. It’s like a collection of letters from a friend, an artist friend, who understands how difficult it can be to follow this creative path. This book covers everything, from how to start to what to do when you fail. Every page has a perforated cover that can be taped to your wall or framed to help you see what you need when you need it. You can read the book quickly, so it is easy to grab whenever you need a friend to help you get through a tough time.

Finish By Jon Acuff

I was a great starter. I used to start a lot of things, buy a lot of art supplies, and then never finish a single thing. The unfinished project was always a possibility of becoming the perfect thing that I had envisioned when I started it, but if I finished it, it would be stuck and would never become anything more than an imperfect reality.

Jon Acuff addresses the problem of perfectionism from many angles in this book to help us get to the end goal of finishing our projects. Acuff covers everything, from the need to set the perfect goal before you start to the moment you feel like you are losing steam at the end, all the way to the final goal of actually finishing the task. This book is a great read if you’re a perfectionist. Even if perfection is not your thing, it’s possible that you do have some tendencies that keep you from being the best finisher you can be.

 

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