I’ve been reading a lot of different books about creativity recently. It’s an elusive and fascinating topic. And it’s a topic that’s essential for anyone that has a creative career or pursuit, whether you’re a photographer, designer, musician, or actor, whether it’s your career or it’s a creative outlet. I believe you can have an impressive set of tools and skills, be armed with technical prowess and experience, but it’s true creativity that will take your work to the next level.
I’d like to think that I’m creative. After all, it’s a large part of my job as a graphic designer and how I pay the bills. But the reality is that there’s so much farther I could go (that, and I’m working in corporate America). I think that’s what got me started on this side research project. I feel like there’s so many great ideas floating around in my head, but they’re stuck and need help getting out. I think creativity is like a muscle in your brain. It’s part of your mind that needs to be flexed, stretched and pushed. It needs to be active or it will stagnate. I decided I wanted to push myself, push the creative side of myself, and see how far it can go.
I thought a good way to get started, was to read about what other people had to say about creativity. One of the best books I’ve read so far, is “Steal Like An Artist” by Austin Kleon. It’s a small square black book. I like the book’s subtitle: “10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative.” The book is all about blowing shotgun sized holes in all the assumptions we often have about what creativity looks like. (For example, the second chapter is titled “Don’t Wait Until You Know Who You Are To Get Started.”) The author writes in very casual and approachable language, and the book is full of drawings, photos, simple diagrams. The chapters are loaded with great questions and assignments to help you go a bit deeper. You could probably read it through in one sitting, but I found it more useful to read it slowly and deliberately, one chapter at a time. I’m planning on going back and reading it again.
Great book, and less than $7 now on Amazon.
What about you, have you read any great books on creativity? Share your recommendations in the comments below.