To a certain extent, creativity is something innate, something that you are born with. But just like any other skill, practice makes perfect – and it takes work to hone your natural creativity so you can channel it into something productive.
Even if you feel like you are not a creative person – fear not, for creativity is something that can be developed. Everyone has that spark of innovation within them, that imagination, that ingenuity, that’s hiding deep down. Once you discover and harness it, you’ll be unstoppable.
When it comes to creating something new and exciting, there is no one set of rules for everyone to follow. Instead, you can pick your own path, shaped by your unique experiences, interests, talents and personality. There is no right or wrong when it comes to creating art – no matter the form of art you choose to pursue. However, gaining more knowledge about what drives creativity help you gain insight into how you can harness your raw, natural talents to create something beautiful, inspiring and visionary.
In this article, we’ll look at four books you can use to find out more about the concept of creativity, and learn how you can sharpen your creative skills to create art that you enjoy and are proud of.
Book #1: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Every author is familiar with “writer’s block” – when you feel like your creativity is stunted and you just can’t get any words of substance out onto that page, no matter how hard you try. This feeling doesn’t just apply to writing, in fact, it applies to all forms of artistic expression. Everyone hits roadblocks every now and then, and struggling to express inner creativity is a feeling that all artists are all too familiar with.
In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield tackles this issue of internal resistance and offers a multitude of solutions to overcome it. He also sheds some light on where this resistance arises from – after all, understanding the root of a problem is the first step in overcoming it.
The biggest take-home message of this book is, to create art, you have to sit down in that chair every day and simply try. Keep at it, no matter how blocked your creative juices feel, or how demotivated you are. Soon enough, you will fall into the habit of trying – and this habit will help you produce the art that you envision.
Book #2: Steal Like an Artist – Austin Kleon
No idea is entirely original, instead, it simply places a creative twist on an already existing idea. That’s the entire premise of Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. A good artist knows what ideas to steal, and what aspects of each idea to incorporate and meld together to create a final product that is unique in its own right.
This inspiring book will realize that creativity is everywhere, and for everyone. Short, simple and direct, it consists of 10 straightforward messages that every artist needs to know. Plus, it encourages you to take a holistic approach towards your art – instead of simply trying to inject creativity into your art, incorporate creativity into your life. Then, your art will follow suit.
Remember, you don’t need to be a genius. You just need to be yourself.
Book #3: Flow - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi goes a step beyond simply teaching you how to access your inner creativity, it shows you how to enter a positive state of mind where creativity is just part and parcel of the much bigger picture – a complete and total involvement of life.
Through his scientific investigations into the human psyche, Csikszentmihalyi presents a convincing argument that entering a state of consciousness he has dubbed “flow” is what allows people to experience a deep and true enjoyment of each and every experience you have. His book will help you identify which elements of this flow are missing in your life, and how you can fix that. After all, flow is not a state that just occurs by chance, it can be controlled and harnessed to enable you to get the most out of your life.
Once you learn how to control your consciousness and enter flow as and when you need, not only will your creative side thrive, you will achieve overall happiness.
Book #4: Deep Work – Cal Newport
Starting a task and staying focused on it is a problem most people struggle with, especially when the task is a mentally demanding one. But, what if I told you that there is a way you can keep your focus steady, while also improving the quality of your work? That’s the essence of the book Deep Work by Cal Newport, which will first explain the importance of the concept “deep work” – which is the skill that enables you to stay focused and produce high-quality, creative work.
The second half of the book will then provide you with the four main rules you need to follow in order to cultivate a habit of deep work. With practical, concrete advice that you can apply to various different aspects of your life, it will enable you to make the changes you need to eliminate procrastination, stimulate creativity, and embrace deep work.
Of course, not everyone has the time to read so many books – much less actually absorb the knowledge in each and every one. If you’re interested in applying the lessons of these books to your life, check out Books In Action for clear, concise, and most important, actionable summaries of each of these book – as well as several others.