10 Inspirational Books on Creativity To Ignite Your Inner Spark

Taking a moment to read these books on creativity will inspire you to rediscover your creative self.

Like most children, I was a creative child.

I amused myself by playing pretend with friends or alone.

Like a soap opera, the pretend stories went on for years.

I did things like:

  • draw
  • make things out of clay or blocks
  • paint

But gradually, the ability to pretend slipped away.

Criticism of my visual creations, even mild criticism or a puzzled, “What is it?” made me tuck my creativity away in favor of the norm.

Encountering creative writing late in elementary school, I froze.

The outer critics became my inner critic.

My artist child withdrew.

Creativity and Adulthood

Adulthood, work, marriage, and children replaced playing with endless pressure and work.

I bought the American dream: if you work hard enough, you can be anything.

Play had no place on my agenda.

My artist child grew increasingly sullen until I could no longer find her.

No amount of coaxing would bring her out.

I convinced myself that some people were just naturally creative – but I was not one of them.

The inner critic won.

The work won.

I forgot that I even had an artist child within me.

Fast forward to my early fifty’s.

A nearly life-threatening encounter with acute onset lupus, an incurable autoimmune disease, resulted in my being on disability for four years.

I returned to work and created a new normal.

That journey led me to the book Full Catastrophe Living.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction

Fascinated by the references to mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), I searched for a teacher.

I found Beth Meeker and studied MBSR for eight weeks.

I caught little glimpses of my artist child.

Using MBSR as a springboard, I continued exploring my re-awakening to creativity, joy, and playfulness.

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Now, at age 63, I have published two books, one with a traditional publisher and one self-published.

I will publish my third book in December 2016.

I have taken up public speaking.

In January, I expect to begin podcasting.

And I learned to paint.

I am replacing the inexpensive purchased prints on my walls with my creations.

I am creating an audiobook and learning how to host a podcast.

As long as I nurture my artist child by being faithful to the morning pages (see first books), giving her love and encouragement, and plenty of time for recreation and just plain noodling, creativity is as effortless as child’s play.

Here’s how you, too, can coax your inner creativity out.

Use these books on creativity as your springboard toward a more colorful tomorrow.

Top 10 Books on Creativity To Read Today

1. The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron

The author invited the reader to explore blocks to creativity that originate in childhood and continue to this day.

Each of the twelve chapters ends with a series of simple tasks that lead the reader to challenge preconceived notions and release these blocks.

Cameron asks the reader to journal every morning (Morning Pages) and to make a date to go out alone and do something pleasurable each week (Artist’s Date).

 

2. The Artist’s Way Everyday: A Year of Creative Living by Julia Cameron

A collection of short daily reflections and affirmations that helps the reader maintain and even go beyond the progress begun in The Artist’s Way.

One book on creativity you shouldn’t miss.

Top Books on Creativity

3. Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness

The program of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center by Jon Kabat-Zinn, leads the reader to recognize the connection between thoughts, feelings, and the behaviors that result from those feelings.

Top Books on Creativity

Kabat-Zinn provides the tools to practice mindfulness meditation, the benefits of which are awareness of automatic thoughts, stress reduction, and greater creativity.

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4. Who Moved My Cheese? An A-Mazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Spencer Johnson, M.D.

Sniff and Scurry (two little mice) and Hem and Haw (two tiny people) live in a maze.

Every day they go to the cheese station for cheese.

One day the cheese is not there.

The mice instinctively go in search of new cheese.

Hem and Haw have very different reactions.

To remain creative, we need to learn to move with the cheese.

Top Books on Creativity

 

5. The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie

A series of daily reflections remind the reader that self-care and growth are for our highest good.

Routinely placing others’ needs above our own prevents us from reaching our potential in life and in creativity.

Definitely one of those books on creativity that could make us think.

Top Books on Creativity

6. Guilt Is the Teacher; love Is the Lesson by Joan Borysenko

Joan Borysenko helps the reader understand how as adults, most of us have lost the ability to be authentic as we were as children.

Trying to please and be accepted by others leads to shameful guilt.

In saying no to guilt, we say yes to life and restore our creativity.

Top Books on Creativity

 

7. Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much by Anne Wilson Schaef

This is a book on creativity for workaholics, busyholics, rushaholics, and careaholics.

Daily reflections call the reader to examine the constant doing in their lives that derails their creativity, joy, and peace.

Creativity stops if the artist’s child doesn’t get a fair amount of playtime.

Top Books on Creativity

 

8. Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L’Engle

Madeleine L’Engle reminds us that God’s first act was to create.

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Since we are made in the image of God, we are made to create – every single one of us.

Creativity is an incarnational activity.

The artist is a servant who will be a birth giver.

Top Books on Creativity

 

9. Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh

Mindfulness is a common thread in these books on creativity.

One can only create when one is mindfully present in this moment.

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh offers gentle anecdotes and practical exercises to learn mindfulness skills.

Top Books on Creativity

 

10. You Can’t Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought: A Book for People with Any Life-Threatening Illness-Including Life by Jon-Roger and Peter McWilliams

Authors Jon-Roger and Peter McWilliams ask why we often use the power of our minds to create a negative reality when we can use the power of our minds to create a positive reality.

A reality that provides a fertile ground from which creativity springs.

Top Books on Creativity

Which of these books on creativity are you interested in?

It’s never too late to start anything.

Whether you want to learn to paint or try your hand at pottery, these books on creativity should hopefully ignite the creative spark inside you.

Tell us which book on creativity you are most excited to read in the comment section below and any others you recommend!

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With a remarkable forty-four-year journey as a classical musician and teacher, Linda Ruescher shifted her focus to chronic illness after being sidelined by systemic lupus. An accomplished author in the field, Linda is a Master Trainer for Stanford University's Chronic Disease Self-Management program, an award-winning health educator, and a dedicated health care advocate. As the program director for the Lupus Foundation of Florida, she passionately shares effective strategies for thriving with chronic illness through her statewide speaking engagements.
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