Creativity is the act of turning new ideas into reality, connecting patterns, and identifying perceptions that are uniquely our own. At its best creativity is a way to explore meaning.
Anyone can be creative — Sometimes we just need a little help getting started. Below are my three favorite books on the subject, written by veterans of their trade, that will help you get rolling and stay motivated:
The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield –
This book identifies resistance as the enemy of creativity, and then gives steps you can take to overcome it. Pressfield is a pro who understands that the most difficult part of the creative process is simply taking the first step and beginning. From there inspiration will come.
Ignore everybody and 39 other keys to creativity by Hugh MacLeod –
Hugh is a cartoonist who became famous for doodle-style drawings that nobody thought he could become famous for. He did so anyway (the basis for his advice “ignore everybody”) and 39 other counter-intuitive and thought-provoking sentiments. One that twisted me up is to keep your hobby and your job separate, so you can focus on your hobby at your own pace without ever being forced to do it.
Steal like an Artist by Austin Kleon –
This should be essential reading not just for artists but for every human. It 10 high impact pointers about what originality is and what this means for your work (or life). To quote the rap God Nas: “No ideas original, there’s nothing new under the sun. It’s never what you do but how it’s done”. That sums up a fair bit of the philosophy behind this book. Other tips include “use your hands”, “geography is not your master”, and “creativity is subtraction”.