As beings who are constantly learning, growing and changing, much of who we become is significantly linked to what we read, watch, experience, and, by extension, focus on. As Dr Suess said: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
It’s all too common in creative circles to stumble on content, art, and creativity poured from people we deem geniuses. People who are supposedly blessed from birth with innate creativity. These beings are capable of previously unimagined leaps of creative insight unavailable to the common murmurs of regular folks. Or so we think…
In 99.99% of cases, creativity is not some fixed and immutable natural gift. It’s a skill to be honed. In that vein, Whether you’re an artist, writer, designer, or simply someone seeking to inject more creativity into your daily life, here are five books you need to read and complete (make sure you complete them) in 2024.
“Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert
This book delves into the magical world of creativity in her book “Big Magic.” Gilbert’s writing is like a friendly chat with your most inspiring friend, encouraging you to embrace your creative curiosity fearlessly. She explores the concept that ideas are living entities, seeking a suitable vessel to bring them into existence. With anecdotes and insights, Gilbert dismantles the myths surrounding creativity and invites you to lead a life driven by passion and purpose.
“Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World” by David Epstein
In a world that often celebrates specialisation, David Epstein challenges the status quo in “Range.” Epstein argues that being a generalist – someone with a wide range of interests and skills, is a crucial ingredient for innovation. Through engaging stories and research, he demonstrates how individuals with diverse experiences can bring fresh perspectives to creative spaces. For creatives seeking to break free from the confines of a single discipline, “Range” provides a compelling case for the value of broad exploration and a multidimensional approach to creativity.
“Show Your Work!” by Austin Kleon
In the age of social media and interconnectedness, sharing your creative journey has become an integral part of the process. Austin Kleon’s “Show Your Work!” is a guidebook for creatives on effectively showcasing their work in the digital space. Kleon advocates for transparency, sharing the behind-the-scenes of your creative process, and building a community around your work. With practical tips and a refreshing perspective, this book empowers creatives to embrace vulnerability, connect with their audience, and amplify the impact of their creations.
“The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron
For those seeking a transformative experience to unlock their creative potential, “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron is a timeless classic. The book introduces the idea of “morning pages,” a morning practice of writing three pages of stream-of-consciousness thoughts. This exercise is designed to clear mental clutter and tap into the depths of creativity within. The book also includes weekly tasks to help creatives rediscover their passions, confront obstacles, and foster a sense of self-nurturing.
“Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon
In his second appearance on this list, Austin Kleon offers another gem with “Steal Like an Artist.” Kleon encourages creatives to embrace influence, transform it, and make it their own. He dispels the myth of originality, emphasising that all artists build upon the work of those who came before them. With a mix of humour and practical advice, Kleon inspires readers to create their own path, combining various influences to craft something uniquely their own. “Steal Like an Artist” is a delightful and empowering read for anyone striving to find their creative voice in a world overflowing with inspiration.
And there you have it. Five books that are sure to speak to you, fuel you and definitely make an impact on your creativity this year. So, grab a copy of any and dive in.