No matter what you imagine, create, facilitate, or craft; we all experience artist’s block, struggle with low motivation, or simply fail to understand our own capacities as creatives.
There have been a handful of books that have made a tremendous difference in my own creative journey – from a number of different perspectives. Read about them below. Who knows, maybe one of these authors offers just what you need right now in your own story.
1. The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron
Whether you are just discovering your creative gifts, or returning after a hiatus, this classic will meet you where you are. Designed to be engaged workbook style in twelve weeks, Cameron will gently guide you through fears, brokenness, and blocks to help you recover your most empowered artist self. This volume has been so powerful to so many over the years that multiple workshops and small groups have been designed around her method. In fact, you might be surprised to find one in your own town.
2. Living with a Creative MInd, Jeff & Julie Crabtree
Co-authored by a husband and wife team (Jeff is a composer and Julie a psychologist), this book perfectly balances the art and science of living as a creative person. With a deep-dive into the creative process (complete with diagrams!), this ten-chapter guidebook helped me understand why I think the way I think, and helped me realize how to harness both the highs and the lows in the creative journey, all the while embracing my creative mind as a gift and not a burden.
3. Walking on Water, Madeliene L’Engle
Perhaps my favorite narratival exploration of the creative journey, Walking on Water is a collection of short essays and reflections on the spirituality, risks, and beauty of art-making. L’Engle, a fiction-writer and devout Roman Catholic, gives us tastes of her own creative life with a diversity that includes everything from the crabapple tree in her backyard, to the cosmic implications of short stories for a life of faith. It is truly a must-read.
4. Art and Fear, David Bayles
This short little book is exactly what it claims to be – an exploration in the things that keep us from creating to our fullest capacities. Art and fear is a mere 122 pages, but it cuts to the core of the perils we face as artists. If fear is one of your greatest obstacles (ahem, isn’t that all of us?), then this book is for you.
5. Start With the Why, Simon Sinek
This volume falls more squarely in the category of leadership development than artist process, but the truth of the book is found in how it equips leaders as influencers. If we are to become artists that make an impact, we must learn how to inspire others. But before we can inspire anyone else, we must understand why our stories matter. Start with the Why. Seeking to deepen your capacity as a culture-leader? Start with this book.
6. The Gift, Lewis Hyde
7. Learning by Heart, Corita Kent & Jan Steward
8. The Shape of a Pocket, John Berger
With gratitude for your story,