Summer is just about here which is an excellent time to catch up on reading! Although typically summer is good to read more fiction-based works, don’t neglect the opportunity to learn more about how to enhance your creativity, especially if you are striving to reach some creative goals before the end of the year. Here are some of our recommendations to add to your Summer Reading list this year:
1. Art & Soul, Reloaded: A Yearlong Apprenticeship for Summoning the Muses and Reclaiming Your Bold, Audacious, Creative Side by Pam Grout
"With her trademark humor, enthusiasm, and no-nonsense guidance, #1 New York Times bestselling author of E-Squared Pam Grout invites you on a yearlong "apprenticeship" to recognize and unleash your innate creativity. Making art does not necessarily mean painting a gallery-worthy still life or belting out a Grammy-winning song. It simply means finding a way to give your inner muse a voice in this world. Sure, there’s drawing, dancing, singing, and writing. But there’s also art to be made from creating your own pair of angel wings or inventing a new toy or curating your own at-home film festival. Each week features a project of self-examination, an inspirational message, a real-world example of a celebrity who has addressed similar obstacles, and three zany activities to awaken your infinite creativity. It’s time to declare the beat of your own drum."
2. The Courage to Be Creative: How to Believe in Yourself, Your Dreams and Ideas, and Your Creative Career Path by Doreen Virtue
"You were born creative. If you don’t feel creative or your creative pursuits haven’t worked out, Doreen Virtue’s newest book can help. Doreen, the best-selling author of more than 100 books, card decks, and audio programs, shows you how to gain 10 forms of courage that lead to creativity, including the courage to be yourself. Each chapter features practical exercises to lead readers to discover their natural talents as writers or artists and in other creative vocations or avocations. Doreen also includes summaries of fascinating psychological studies that demonstrate how to become a successful and satisfied creative individual. Filled with practical advice, scientific research on the creative process, and real-life stories, The Courage to Be Creative is a mainstream book with an inspirational flavor."
3. Mastering Creative Anxiety: 24 Lessons for Writers, Painters, Musicians, and Actors from America's Foremost Creativity Coach by Eric Maisel
"In his decades as a psychotherapist and creativity coach, Eric Maisel has found a common thread behind what often gets labeled “writer’s block,” “procrastination,” or “stage fright.” It’s the particular anxiety that, paradoxically, keeps creators from doing, completing, or sharing the work they are driven toward. This “creative anxiety” can take the form of avoiding the work, declaring it not good enough, or failing to market it — and it can cripple creators for decades, even lifetimes. But Maisel has learned what sets successful creators apart. He shares these strategies here, including artist-specific stress management; how to work despite bruised egos, day jobs, and other inevitable frustrations; and what not to do to deal with anxiety. Implementing these 24 lessons replaces the pain of not creating with the profound rewards of free artistic self-expression."
4. Creative Quest by Questlove
Questlove—musician, bandleader, designer, producer, culinary entrepreneur, professor, and all-around cultural omnivore—shares his wisdom on the topics of inspiration and originality in a one-of-a-kind guide to living your best creative life.
In Creative Quest, Questlove synthesizes all the creative philosophies, lessons, and stories he’s heard from the many creators and collaborators in his life, and reflects on his own experience, to advise readers and fans on how to consider creativity and where to find it. He addresses many topics—what it means to be creative, how to find a mentor and serve as an apprentice, the wisdom of maintaining a creative network, coping with critics and the foibles of success, and the specific pitfalls of contemporary culture—all in the service of guiding admirers who have followed his career and newcomers not yet acquainted with his story.
Whether discussing his own life or channeling the lessons he’s learned from forefathers such as George Clinton, collaborators like D’Angelo, or like-minded artists including Ava DuVernay, David Byrne, Björk, and others, Questlove speaks with the candor and enthusiasm that fans have come to expect. Creative Quest is many things—above all, a wise and wide-ranging conversation around the eternal mystery of creativity.
5. The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp
"One of the world’s leading creative artists, choreographers, and creator of the smash-hit Broadway show, Movin’ Out, shares her secrets for developing and honing your creative talents—at once prescriptive and inspirational, a book to stand alongside The Artist’s Way and Bird by Bird.
All it takes to make creativity a part of your life is the willingness to make it a habit. It is the product of preparation and effort, and is within reach of everyone. Whether you are a painter, musician, businessperson, or simply an individual yearning to put your creativity to use, The Creative Habit provides you with thirty-two practical exercises based on the lessons Twyla Tharp has learned in her remarkable thirty-five-year career.
In "Where's Your Pencil?" Tharp reminds you to observe the world -- and get it down on paper. In "Coins and Chaos," she gives you an easy way to restore order and peace. In "Do a Verb," she turns your mind and body into coworkers. In "Build a Bridge to the Next Day," she shows you how to clean the clutter from your mind overnight.
Tharp leads you through the painful first steps of scratching for ideas, finding the spine of your work, and getting out of ruts and into productive grooves. The wide-open realm of possibilities can be energizing, and Twyla Tharp explains how to take a deep breath and begin..."
6. Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad by Austin Kleon
"In his previous books Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work!, both New York Times bestsellers, Austin Kleon gave readers the keys to unlock their creativity and showed them how to become known. Now he offers his most inspiring work yet, with ten simple rules for how to stay creative, focused, and true to yourself—for life.
The creative life is not a linear journey to a finish line, it’s a loop—so find a daily routine, because today is the only day that matters. Disconnect from the world to connect with yourself—sometimes you just have to switch into airplane mode. Keep Going celebrates getting outdoors and taking a walk (as director Ingmar Bergman told his daughter, ”The demons hate fresh air”). Pay attention, and especially pay attention to what you pay attention to. Worry less about getting things done, and more about the worth of what you’re doing. Instead of focusing on making your mark, work to leave things better than you found them..
Keep Going and its timeless, practical, and ethical principles are for anyone trying to sustain a meaningful and productive life.."
7. The Right to Write : An Invitation and Initiation Into the Writing Life by Julia Cameron
What if everything we have been taught about learning to write was wrong? In The Right to Write, Julia Cameron's most revolutionary book, the author of the bestselling self-help guide The Artist's Way, asserts that conventional writing wisdom would have you believe in a false doctrine that stifles creativity. With the techniques and anecdotes in The Right to Write, readers learn to make writing a natural, intensely personal part of life. Cameron's instruction and examples include the details of the writing processes she uses to create her own bestselling books. She makes writing a playful and realistic as well as a reflective event. Anyone jumping into the writing life for the first time and those already living it will discover the art of writing is never the same after reading The Right to Write.
8. Running Down a Dream: Your Road Map To Winning Creative Battles by Tim Grahl A Deeply Personal Field Guide to Defeating Your Own Worst Enemy
When you dream, you envision a magical future...the day when you have heroically slain your dragons and unlocked the creativity and genius buried deep inside. But how do you actually get to that destination? You can analyze the myths of visionary creators—artists, writers, musicians, software developers, etc. who have accomplished the impossible. You’ll read about how they went for it, refused to quit, and would not be denied. But exactly how these successful creators went from being fearful dreamers to accomplished artists proves elusive. Running Down a Dream unflinchingly bares the naked truth of creation and shares the practical to-do list to take you from here to there. The good news? You don't have to be an Austen or a Michelangelo or an Oprah to create a work of art. The bad news? There is no glossing over the pain, embarrassment, and financial terror necessary to contend with on your journey to mission accomplished. More good news? What lies ahead for you is the realization of your heroic self. The run is worth it in ways you can't yet imagine.
All quotes except where noted from Amazon.com
Have you read any of these books? Any books that are missing that you recommend? Share below and happy reading!
Creativity does not have to be compartmentalized to one time period or portion of your life. When you intentionally incorporate creativity into your life, you invite rich experiences that can inform and enhance your creative practice. Below are eight ways that you can incorporate creativity
1. Believe and accept that you are creative. Write affirmations that you can see every day that helps to support this belief.
2. ‘Think outside the box’ for solutions for problems.
3. Make a list of 3 new activities you would like to try in the next few months and set a deadline to complete them.
4. Create Play Time Zones or Artist’s Dates for Yourself in Your Daily or Weekly Schedule
5. Schedule and Meet a Friend for a Play Date that might include a creative activity you both have been meaning to try.
6. Spend time in Nature
7. Remember Self-Care is important: Exercise, meditating as well as other more mindful activities can bring creative ideas and inspiration.
8. Change up your work space or home environment…experiment and add different colors, textures, artwork, artifacts, accent pieces or scents to your space.
What other ways have you incorporated creativity into your life? What can you add to this list? Feel free to share in the comments below!
One of the most popular creative blockbusters that you may hear about is a tool, made popular by Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way is the morning pages. As Julia defines it, the morning pages are “three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. “ The writing that is done here is not “high art” or publishable by any means…it is whatever comes to your head that you need or want to get out on paper, pen in hand. That’s right, it is not a typing or texting exercise…it is old school writing.
There are many people who use this as tool to unblock their creativity. For me it has been a tool that I have been using for a few years and it helps me to do a “mind dump” on everything that is going on in my daily world. Write everything from gratitude lists, poetry, funny things that happened during the day to venting out frustrations. Once I do this daily version of journaling, I begin the day a bit lighter and focused, especially as part of my morning ritual.
If you have been thinking of starting this practice, here is a few benefits that may encourage you to start earlier than later:
• There is No Wrong Way to Do the Morning Pages: Julia said so herself! It’s all about what comes out of your mind and on to the page. There is no writing structure or topic to follow. It is whatever is on your brain at the moment.
• The Morning Pages Clears the Fog of the Mind: For me, it is a wonderful brain dump….and at times I am surprised as to what appears on the page. There may be issues or thoughts latent in the brain that you don’t realize is in your subconscious. The morning pages allows you to get it out.
• The Morning Pages Helps You Discover Patterns of Thoughts or Concerns: You may be surprised that you are venting about similar issues or that a problem you thought you had now includes a solution in your writing. That is the magic of the process…when you identify patterns or find solutions, it helps clear the way for creativity.
• The Morning Pages Can Help You Think Through Creative Projects: New ideas often come as I write for artistic projects or for resources for my creativity coaching practice. I may write down an idea for workshop, or an art series and then expand on it. I may recall a detail from an Artist’s Date or an event I attended that I will write about which launches other ideas.
• The Morning Pages is a Healthy Way to Release Stress: If you have a habit of venting or complaining to your friends or family, a journaling practice of any kind is a healthy way to get it all out without losing friends and loved ones in the process. You can identify triggers, or crazymakers that may be getting in the way of your creativity.
Any journaling practice can have benefits to help you clear the mind and focus on your creative practice. Do you do the morning pages? What has been the benefits of this daily ritual for your creativity?