25 Mar 2014

Need a book to help with your creative process?

I have a couple of books that I would like to share with you. These books will help you if you are anything like me and need that supportive word of encouragement when being creative. They are the books I am always mentioning to friends and family.

There is currently a Facebook post going round which shows a list of the creative process. It says something like, 'This is great (awesome), this is tricky, this is shit, I am shit, this might be OK, this is great (awesome). I have put a bracket around the word (Awesome) as I am coming at this from a very British perspective. I think the word, 'Great' explains it how I would think about it. I am not pretending to have any inkling of American enthusiasm. However, all these books I am going to recommend are American.

I think anyone who is in the creative world knows this 'It's great' to 'It's shit' roller coaster.  When you are in the 'this is tricky' stage the negative voices can start to haunt you.They lead to the 'Your shit' phase. As one of my strategies I always pick up a book for some inspiration or wise words to help me through this self loathing stage.

I want to share with you three books (potentially four) that stand out for me as providing words of wisdom and an insight into other creatives methods and minds. 

I will begin with my favourite. 

Bird by Bird: Instructions on writing and life by Anne Lamott.

"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was  ten years old at the time, was trying to get a  report on birds written that he'd had three months to  write. It was due the next day. We were out at our  family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen  table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper  and pencils and unopened books on birds,  immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my  father sat down beside him, put his arm around my  brother's shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy.  Just take it bird by bird.'"

I often feel like that ten year old (Anne's brother) sat at my desk wondering how I am going to make all these ideas in my head into something people will understand, like and hopefully laugh at. This book has honest experiences from the author Anne Marmott and it is a refreshing read to know someone else goes through the same insanity thought processes when embarking on a new project.

The second book is by author Austin Kleon called 'Steal like an artist'.  It gives great insight for coming up with ideas, approaching creative work so that you keep at it and it is generally a good read. The book can be read in one evening and you can dip in and out of it when you need a boost. I bought several of these books last Christmas to give to friends and family. This book also recommended, 'Bird by Bird' to me.

Another book recommended by Austin Kleon is 'Ignore everybody and 39 other keys to creativity'  by Hugh Macleod. This book is also an easy read and can be dipped into when needed. Hugh Macleod's illustrations are very funny and his words ring true for so many parts of the creative process. Extra research -  Austin Kleon & Hugh Macleod both have great blogs.

Today, I have received Austin Kleon's brand new book called 'Show your work! 10 ways to share your creativity and get discovered.' It reminded me to blog and share my recommendations with you. I am very excited to read it tonight. Will let you know how I get on. The covers of Austin Kleon's books always feel lovely, soft to the touch and kind of comforting just like the words inside.

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What books do you recommend to be inspiring and help your creative process? Leave me a blog comment or tweet and let me know. @_JPostlethwaite

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