BY CASSANDRA LITTLEWOOD ONLINE CONTRIBUTOR
Living a creative life can take many forms. Whether it be designing clothes or creating math problems, every individual has a sense of creativity within them. But, sometimes we can feel burnt out and lack all inspiration for creative endeavours. Whenever I need a boost of creativity I like to turn outwards and look at the lives of other individuals who are living creatively to the fullest. To help push past that writer’s block or just get more inspiration, I’ve compiled a curation of books where creative living is depicted in its beautiful (and sometimes difficult) entirety. Pick a couple up and you’ll be sure get those creative juices flowing.
Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
Ten letters exchanged between the famous poet, Rilke and a young fan, the “young worker”, are at the centre of this book. While Rilke is writing specifically for the young worker, his advice is universal, and yet, feels personal. These letters are known for being some of the best expressions of creative thought to touch paper; every word heavy with wisdom. It is in one of the letters from the young worker that describes it the best: “My friend said once: Give us teachers who praise the Here and Now. You are such a one.” I could pull quotes left and right from this book, but it’s better to discover Rilke’s precious wisdom for yourself.
In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney
Here’s a fun fact: this book IS NOT just for women! While Bonney focuses on women who make their livelihoods through creating, her advice is all-encompassing when discussing how these individuals turned their creativity into their livelihoods. It ranges from turning creativity into a business, to overcoming adversity when the almighty inspiration seems to never want to come back. A huge bonus to all this great advice is that this book also happens to be BEAUTIFUL. The pages light up with amazing portraits of the women interviewed and their inspiring workspaces. This is a great one to slowly work through since there are over 100 women featured and each woman has great advice for living creatively.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Full disclosure: Coelho does not mention creativity once BUT he does discuss (at length) how one should follow their own path and destiny. Following the fictional telling of a shepherd boy on the way to find his treasure, there are a great deal of lessons that can be learned about following what you feel is your calling, despite adversity.
The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds
This book may come off more funny than a book you would take seriously in terms of inspiring creativity. Despite being a picture book, The Dot hones right into the artistic process and how even the smallest flicker of inspiration can turn into something big and worthwhile. It might just make you look again at that idea you thought was so awful and try to rework it. The creative message and its heartfelt ending make this book a wonderful little read for creative inspiration. (And if you LOVED the Judy Moody illustrations as a child as much as I did then you’ll love this book since it’s the same illustrator!)
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
You know Elizabeth Gilbert from her famous book, Eat Pray Love, but how did she find her inspiration for it and what helps her to keep creating? Gilbert has written one of the best books out there on creativity. Not only will she help you banish every self-doubt you have about yourself and creating but she also looks in depth into the creative process. She describes it in beautiful form that puts the creative process on display. It is easy to see yourself in Gilbert’s words and actions and follow her advice to follow your creative instincts.