1. Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert
Oh, this book. My mom got it for me because she knows I want to be a writer and she knows I idolize Elizabeth Gilbert. In her book, Gilbert examines what it means to live a creative life – and how to do it. It’s about putting fear aside, conquering your demons, and living the life you’ve always wanted. Her writing is witty, captivating, and sure to get your creative juices flowing.
2. The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield
Again, a book gotten for me by my parents.
Short synopsis? There is an evil energy all around us that will try to prevent us from achieving our goals. Its name? Resistance. Read this book to find out how to identify Resistance and how to kick its butt.
3. Do the Work!, by Steven Pressfield
A follow-up to The War of Art, author Steven Pressfield guides you, step-by-step, through the creative process. Once you’ve finished it, you will feel like you’re ready to conquer the world – and you’ll know exactly how to do it.
4. The Miracle of Mindfulness, by Thich Nhat Hanh
Grab it from the library, buy it at a bookstore, download it as an audiobook. Reading through this will give you a sense of peace you never knew you had in you. If you’re ever feeling down, this is something to turn to. It's so comforting that even the act of reading it feels like a meditation.
5. Daily Rituals, edited by Mason Currey
Can't seem to get started? Don't know what to do when you wake up?Worried that writing at odd times is something to be ashamed of? In despair that no Youtube-recommended morning routine will help you? Have no fear. This book compiles hundreds of noteable creative people’s creative routines – and some of them are really out there. If you can’t find something on Buzzfeed, maybe you’ll find something in here to get you started. Who knows what might work for you?
(And if you're a total nerd, you can flip right to your idols to see how they spent their time.)
6. A childhood story book
There’s nothing quite like flipping through an old picture book to get you feeling all mushy and nostalgic – the perfect mood to start creating, in my opinion. When I was little, I used to read about kick-ass little girls becoming warrior princesses and baking beautiful cakes. Sometimes I return to those books just for a little comfort from my childhood and some inspiration from my first heroes. But remember to set a timer before you open the book. Memories can suck you in and spit you back out hours later. This isn't a procrastination technique; this is a motivator!
7. Eat Pray Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert.
(I told you I loved her.)
This might sound like something everyone has said before, but if they’re all saying it, there must be some grain of truth to it. I read this book my senior year of high school and found so much comfort and inspiration from Gilbert’s poetic words, beautiful story, and inspiring compassion. I particularly love the section from her travels in India – there I found mantras that got me through many a crisis.
8. A musical score or a map of a museum.
Not technically books, I know, but if you’re needing a bit of a kick in the pants, try taking a look at a masterpiece. Find an art museum and wander through it until you find something that makes you shake right down into your shoes. Or rummage through your library bookshelves until you find a Mahler symphony or a Bach Cantata. Sometimes if you need a boost, looking at something incredible can do the trick. Just remember: you are capable of something like that, too.
9. An empty notebook.
I don’t care if you’re “not a writer.” To live, you have to write. There is always so much going on in our heads that it’s surprising we even get through the day. The days that I don’t write in a journal (or drink any tea, *cough cough*) are the days that I feel anxious and start to run into walls, both literally and metaphorically. It doesn't matter what you write – random words that come to mind, brainstorming, word vomit – just that you do it.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to find one of these and get my work started.