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Books on creativity that I’m currently loving (and what I want to read next)

I LOVE reading books about art and creativity. Generally, I come away feeling so inspired and full of new ideas.

But there is something else that I love about it. Whenever I read them, I feel this sense of being a part of this larger creative community because I identified with the author’s thoughts, struggles, and victories in pursuing their creative dreams and careers.

Here’s a list of what I’ve loved so far, what I’m currently reading, and what I’m planning on getting into next.

Creative Quest by Questlove

I’m currently reading this one and loving it. Questlove writes in a very conversational way and shares his thoughts on all aspects of the creative process. The chapter I’m most looking forward to reading is called Curation as Cure. I’ve always been very interested in curating. Here’s a quote from that chapter that caught my eye (I peeked!).Creative people need to start thinking of themselves a little differently. Now, in the twenty-first century, creative life also includes some management of other people’s creativity and the overlap between yours and theirs. To put it a different way: you can be an artist, but you also have to be a curator.”

Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley

Just starting this one so I’m not far in but here is a quote I liked that seems to sum up what this book is about.“But the real value of creativity doesn’t emerge until you are brave enough to act on those ideas. That combination of thought and action defines creative confidence: the ability to come up with new ideas and the courage to try them out. “

Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

This is a short easy read but full of good advice. There are so many quotes I could share with you. Here’s one:“If we’re free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to make something out of nothing, and we can embrace influence instead of running away from it.”

Show Your Work by Austin Kleon

This is a good, practical book where Austin shares ways to share your work and get noticed. Maybe the simplest piece of advice in the book is this: “Make stuff you love and talk about stuff you love and you’ll attract people who love that kind of stuff. It’s that simple.”

Keep Going by Austin Kleon

I loved the other two books by Austin so you know I had to get this one as well. I'm currently in the middle of reading this one and I'm loving it as much as the others. Austin understands the the processes and difficulties of being an artist and is able to speak in a way I deeply relate to. For instance, when my art starts to feel like work I don't want to do anymore I remember this: "If you've lost your playfulness, practice for practice's sake...Musicians can jam without making a recording. Writers and artists can type or draw out a page and throw it away. Photographers can take photos and immediately delete them."

The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

This is on my to-read list.“In the end, there is no ideal condition for creativity. What works for one person is useless for another. The only criterion is this: Make it easy on yourself. Find a working environment where the prospect of wrestling with your muse doesn’t scare you, doesn’t shut you down. It should make you want to be there, and once you find it, stick with it. To get the creative habit, you need a working environment that’s habit-forming. All preferred working states, no matter how eccentric, have one thing in common: When you enter into them, they compel you to get started.”

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

This book was excellent. Full of motivation! “We must do our work for its own sake, not for fortune or attention or applause.”


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