Must Read Creativity Books

These books are excellent resources if you want to make and maybe are not sure where to start. Some of them resonated particularly with me and you will easily be able to tell which those are. Some of them I’m glad to say that I’ve read so I know what people are talking about when they talk about them. If you are going to purchase any of them, I very highly recommend you buy a physical copy so you can make notes in the margins and mark it up where appropriate. I have an electronic copy of a couple of them and while I am pro-electronic books in favor of saving trees, in this case I really regret that life choice.


365365: A Daily Creativity Journal: Make Something Every Day and Change Your Life!

Here’s the book that started it all for me. It’s full of daily challenges for launching your creativity but more than that are the interstitial interviews about people’s year long projects. Those are what really got me going and what launched me into my own Make Something Every Day Project. This book also benefits from some fun graphic design.




The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativityartists-way

Published in 1992, this book is a staple in the self-help category of creative living. When I first read it, I was sure I was going to be a professional writer so I approached it as a writer and LOVED the morning pages. As a visual artist, I find the morning pages to be rather a waste of time. For me personally, spending the time I would spend on morning pages actually working on art makes so much more sense to me. But I hesitate to make that a blanket statement for everyone because I know visual artists who SWEAR by the morning pages. So if you haven’t read this classic, I suggest you attempt the morning pages for a few months to get the hang of it and see if it holds any benefits for you.


magicBig Magic

This book is the holy ground of what it is to be an artist for me. I read it and immediately made the spouse read it (he’s a writer) and then immediately gave it to three people as gifts and made 15 other people promise to read it. It was both life changing and life affirming for me. Big Magic, indeed. So much good stuff in here about fear and getting started. If this book doesn’t make you wanna work, then your soul might just be shriveled up in a little ball inside the husk you call a body. Go. Read. This. Book.

Additionally, Liz Gilbert has a podcast called Magic Lessons to go along with the book. I’ve been listening to this and am further affirmed in my life’s calling with each episode. I’m going to be talking about a particularly compelling episode in an upcoming blog post.



devoThe Crafter’s Devotional: 365 Days of Trips, Tricks and Techniques for Unlocking Your Creative Spirit

This book is an excellent resource if you are stuck in a bit of a rut. Plenty of ideas to get your creativity flowing and to get you working again. I challenge you to look through this book and NOT find something that sparks a creative idea for you.




habitThe Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

I made the mistake of purchasing this book on my Kindle, so I didn’t take notes on it in any meaningful way. I think I lost some of the good experience I could have had with this book because of that. I like Tharp’s no-nonsense approach because sometimes we actually do need a drill sergeant in our own heads to push us to get the work done. I think this book is fantastically organized and methodical, which I know for some might be more of a deterrent than an attraction. Her process is also fascinating and might really resonate with some of you.



Creative Call call

This book is Janice Elsheimer’s  outpouring after completing The Artist’s Way and still needing a resource for Christians who wanted to have a deeper connection to God through their creative practice. I found this book to be illuminating in terms of how I think about what I make in connection to God and my life as a Christian maker.


time-to-makeTime to Make

I love Ginger’s lighthearted tone in this book. Why are you waiting to make things when you know making things will make you happy? Preach it, Sista. My favorite quote from this book I painted and having hanging on my wall: “Are you selling only what you are making? Or are you trying to buy the right to make things?” Make on, Maker.




warThe War of Art

I talk about some problems I had with this book in this post I wrote a few months ago.. But I know for some, this book will really resonate. It has excellent things to say but I lose sight of that with the overall tone of the book. If it works for you, I want to hear about it! Please share!!




My In Progress/To Be Read Pile

napkinThe Back of the Napkin (Expanded Edition): Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures

I’m about a third through with this book and find the ideas fascinating. I might never use this book in a business context but I very much like the idea of business people thinking in this creative way. If anything jumps out at me, I’ll be sure to fill you in.



uglyMake It Mighty Ugly: Exercises & Advice for Getting Creative Even When It Ain’t Pretty

This is the only book I link directly to the author’s website because if you buy it through Kim’s website she sends you goodies as well as a signed copy of the book. Kim is so funny and relatable that I’m sure this book is going to be awesome. I’ve had it for an embarrassingly long time now and have yet to dig in. I’m almost sure it’s because I’ll be so sad when I’ve finished reading it. Kim is primarily a crocheter and crochet instructor/writer but she isn’t afraid to try new crafts and calls herself the Camp Counselor for Grown Ups. We all need more of that in our lives.



What have you read that you loved? What are you looking forward to reading from this list? What did I leave off? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.