This past month I read the first two books on this list and felt like a deep wheel of inner creativity, essential to the overall workings of my being, had WD-40 poured on it and is now beginning to move. Hallelujah! This then led me to think of other books, videos, and bursts of inspiration that have blessedly fanned my creative fire. So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite inspiration instigators. May they get your creative juices flowing!
1. & 2. The War of Art: Break Through Your Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles & Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work, both by Steven Pressfield
What treasures these two books are! They’re like a laser slicing through resistance and opening the channel to create! They’re written in a punchy, succinct way that resonated, and that I found energizing. These may be my favorite let’s-get-creative sort of books I’ve read to date because they get to the heart of the matter – that it’s not that you’re not creative because you are. It’s that we’re all so tangled up in resistance that we don’t get anything done. Your creative spirit will do a jig of gratitude that you pick up these books, call resistance on its bluff, and get on with the work/art/life you’ve been wanting to live.
3. The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron
This book is such a classic, and for good reason. Her thoughtful and thorough 12-week program, if you dedicate yourself to it, opens your creativity in unexpectedly wonderful ways. The challenge is sticking with it. But if you look around your are – in book stores or even on Craig’s List – you’ll find groups of people doing it together which can be not only motivational, but a lot of fun.
I love SARK. Have you read Succulent Wild Woman? If not, and you want to be bathed in permission to be as messy, fabulous, simple, and complicated as you are and completely enjoy yourself while you’re at it, pick it up. Make Your Creative Dreams Real is similarly full of her special brand of self-acceptance, but it’s instead focused on bringing your creativity to life. Just looking at it makes you want to be whimsical and adventurous.
5. Life, Paint and Passion: Reclaiming the Magic of Spontaneous Expression by Michele Cassou and Stewart Cubley
I have read and re-read this book more than any other creative book I have, and that’s saying something! It’s written about painting but you could apply it to every artistic medium because the whole gist of it is: get out of the way, drop your stories, stop trying to make your expression make sense, and let creativity come through you. Every single page has a gem on it. Often when I’m stuck, I open it to a random page like a tarot card, and am given a priceless bit of wisdom that shows me what I need to do to reopen to my flow.
6. The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms by Danielle LaPorte
This book takes all this talk of creativity and applies it to business. Which, if you’re self-employed or dabbling in it, you know is a highly creative thing to do. She’s bold, inspiring, filled with stories, will get you writing, musing, and doing new things. And, like The Artist’s Way, there are groups all over the country doing this together so if you want to the support of a group to do this, that’s available. Cool!
1. Elizabeth Gilbert – TED talk
… is fantastic! If you’ve not seen it, I implore you to take 20 and watch it. She’s incredibly likable and deeply gets the need to show up and listen to our muse’s inspiration.
2. Casey Neistat – Make it Count
4+ minutes of balls to the wall movement. Makes me want to jump out of my chair and seize the day! Once I saw this video, I started watching all of Casey’s videos, eagerly awaiting each one he puts out. He’s definitely got his own style and if you go deep into his YouTube videos, you’ll find out he’s a mad wizard of creative organization and his story is ridiculously inspiring.
3. Imogen Heap – Everything In-Between: The Story of Ellipse
I’ll confess that I didn’t know much about Imogen Heap when I saw this. But dang is this documentary of the making of her album inspiring! Her tenacity, commitment, and experimentation is amazing. If you’ve ever wanted to see behind the scenes of what goes into making an album, this is your movie. Here’s a trailer. You can get it on Amazon.
4. More inspiring artist documentaries, you say? Here’s a whole bunch right here (takes a minute to load but trust me, it’s worth it).
Oh, you want more do you? Here are some of my favorites on activating your creative flow.
- Are You Listening to the Voice of Inspiration or the Voice of Limitation?
- Fiery Forward Movement Has Nothing to Do With Fear
- Transforming Self-Criticism and Lethargy into Creative Flow
- Nothing Feels Better Than Being in the Flow
- 5 Considerations to Get Your Creativity Flowing + Take it to the Next Level
- Carving Your Path + Slashing Through Distractions