One secret to unleashing your creativity and putting it to work is to first tell yourself that you are creative. Artists, writers, musicians and chefs are always thought of as creative types, but everyone—regardless of talent or profession—has the capacity for creativity. Start by believing in your own ability to create. To hone your creativity further, pick up one or more of these inspiring, motivating books and help tap into your muse.
1. The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity
By Julia Cameron
Journalist and poet Julia Cameron started by sharing ideas with other authors in her living room. Her book, The Artist’s Way, has become a road map for people looking to tap into their creativity. Learn concrete ways to become more productive and imaginative, as well as understand how creativity is linked to spirituality. One of her tips is to write “morning pages,” which are three sheets of longhand, stream-of-consciousness writing done at the start of the day. She suggests not overthinking the process and capturing what comes to you.
2. Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention
By Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
What leads to your most creative moments? Drawing on 100 interviews with exceptional people, including biologists, politicians, business leaders and artists, as well as his many years of research, psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explores why we need to cultivate creativity for the future of our country and world. He contends that creativity is so fascinating because when we are involved in it, we are living more fully than during the rest of life.
3. Let Me Out: Unlock Your Creative Mind and Bring Your Ideas to Life
By Peter Himmelman
Award-winning musician and founder of the website BigMuse.com explains how to use science-based left- and right-brained thinking to take action on your goals. Knowing who you are and what you stand for gives you strength of purpose, he writes. Think like a kid again; they don’t worry about fear and judgment. Entertain wild ideas with your childlike sense of wonder.
Learn how to grow your creative thinking with six fundamental abilities that are necessary for professional and personal success. Even if you are a logical and linear left-brain thinker, this book was written to help everyone tap into the potential of the right side of their brain.
Do you know what kills creativity? Perfectionism. Author Brene Brown shows how to give up perfection to connect with your true self and take more risks. She writes, “Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life…”
6. Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration
By Meera Lee Patel
Blank journals can spark insights by connecting you to your inner voice, but Start Where You Are is an interactive journal that facilitates creativity, mindfulness and self-motivation. Take the time to slow down, notice the world around you and discover who you are. Use encouraging prompts such as “all the answers are already inside you” and “write down three thoughts that made you smile today” to help inspire your creativity.
7. Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All
By Tom Kelley and David Kelley
David Kelley, founder of the global design and innovation company, IDEO, and his brother Tom Kelley show you how to unleash your creativity. Drawing on stories from their work at IDEO with top companies, the authors impart principles and strategies on how to use your creative potential at work and in your personal life. Be innovative to solve problems, they write. And once you acknowledge that you are creative, you can use that confidence to go out and do great things.
Read more: 10 Best Books to Boost Productivity
Sandra Bilbray is a contributing editor for Live Happy, and the CEO and owner of themediaconcierge.net.