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Five Fantastic Books to Foster Your Creativity

Every creative person needs stimulation, encouragement, inspiration, guidance and support in order to thrive. The creative life can be challenging, confusing and often lonely. But we are not meant to go it alone.

Fortunately for artists today, there are some really excellent books on the creative process out there. Books with the power to change your creative life. Books that can help you break through creative blocks, gather sustenance, learn great tools and be motivated by fabulous advice and inspiration, so that you can be creating at your best and loving it.

Here are five of the very best books on creativity that I know. These books are tremendously helpful and relevant for creative people in any field, medium or style of art and at any stage of your creative life.

Whether you are a painter, filmmaker, dancer, weaver, gardener, singer, chef or writer, or just think of yourself as a dabbler, these books will help you foster that precious creative spark in you and build it into a bonfire of creativity to last a lifetime.

Whether you are just starting out or in the midst of a demanding creative career, these books contain pearls of wisdom, insight and valuable practices that can undam the rivers of creativity in you and cultivate your ongoing, productive creative life.

1. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

There’s no question about it. This is the number one best book on creativity that I know. There is a good reason it has sold over two million copies worldwide. This book continues to change the lives of countless artists.

But there is a hitch. This book is not meant simply to be read. It is designed as an intensive, 12-week course. If you do the course full out, reading a chapter a week, using the “basic tools” and doing the exercises as instructed, you will experience big shifts and openings.

Most people are not able to do this on their own. I highly recommend you find an experienced facilitator and do the process with a group. The results can be exponentially more powerful.

[To find out when I am offering The Artist’s Way again, click here and send me a note.]

2. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Another truly great and brilliant book on the creative life, The War of Art takes on the topic of resistance to creating, to doing what we most love and long to do. Pressfield deeply engages this mysterious phenomenon that prevents us from living our best lives and shows us how to beat resistance and win the war of art. Written in engaging, brief chapters that inspire and incite, The War of Art is must read for artists and creatives of all kinds.

3. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

This little book came on the scene a few years back and made quite a splash. For good reason. Written and illustrated with wonderful drawings by Kleon, this is a delightful, inspiring book, filled with great suggestions to provoke your creativity. Divided into ten core principles that are both wise and provocative, Kleon motivates you to rev up your creative gears and makes the process feel do-able and fun!

4. Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland

Billed as “an artist’s survival guide” and subtitled “Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking,” this wise little book is like a good friend on the creative journey. Bayles and Orland provide warnings of the pitfalls we so easily can fall into as creatives and deep understanding of the struggles of the creative path. With this, the book offers profound insights into what we need in order to cultivate rewarding creative lives and keep going in the face of the inevitable challenges.

5. The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

A wonderful, inspiring handbook by the brilliant choreographer and dancer Twyla Tharp. Tharp shares her own processes and tools for igniting and sustaining creativity. Filled with fun and practical exercises throughout, she takes us on a journey from preparing to create, to “scratching” for new ideas through development and the “ruts and grooves” that can beset us. Tharp most of all urges the need for creativity to become a habit in our lives and helps us learn how to do that.

Now it’s your turn.

Pick one of these books that you have not yet read. Get a copy from your local bookstore or order it from (a wonderful independent bookseller with a huge selection of new and used books) and dive in!

To your abundant creativity,

Maxima Kahn

P.S. If you would love inspiration, support and real tools to ignite and sustain your creative fires, join me over at I have a free gift for you there too!

P.P.S. All of the above authors are contemporary working artists. I’ve included links to their books and their own websites, where available.