My first job out of college might be the best job I ever had. There were no openings for art teachers, which is what I thought I wanted to do, so instead I went to work for a local bookstore and spent all day, every day, surrounded by books. It was glorious. With the employee discount and the ability to order anything I wanted, (no amazon.com in these days), I ended up with a wonderful collection of books. They have been added to, boxed up and moved at least a dozen times, but I am grateful for every one.
Here are five books that spark creative thinking, some of the ones I return to again and again:
The best lessons here are writing daily pages – you commit to journaling every day with a stream of conscious style of writing to get your thoughts flowing, and artist dates – a once a week, two hour period you nourish your inner creativity with something fun and interesting. You take yourself to a gallery, the zoo, a antique fair, whatever you love to do. This book is a 12 week course and designed to excavate your creative self.
Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach
A book of daily meditations on gratitude, joy, simplicity and creativity. She affirms and gently inspires with daily topics and warm advice. It’s like visiting with your grandmother and gleaning her best ideas, the literary equivalent of a warm cup of tea.
Cure for the Common Life by Max Lucado
This book is about discovering your sweet spot — the job or life calling you were created for. He guides readers on their search to find the unique abilities God may have built into them. First step: Read your life backwards to see where you’ve been successful and what you’ve loved in the past. The reader is directed to find their personal S.T.O.R.Y. — strengths, topic, optimal conditions, relationships and Yes moments. An excellent guide to finding your purpose.
Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
Subtitled “10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative”, the author presents a manifesto on living a creative life. The result is inspiring, original, practical, and entertaining. It’s filled with the truth about creativity: 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. It is more like having a lively conversation than reading a book.
Drawing on the Artist Within by Betty Edwards
Written by a college art professor, Drawing on the Artist within is full of instructional drawings and the work of master artists, and is written for people with no previous experience in art. She encourages and actually teaches, along with interesting discussions of the creative process. Her other book, “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” is wonderful as well.
What books have made a positive impact in your life, creative or otherwise? I would love to hear about what reading has inspired you.