Feeling stuck in your creative pursuit or in need of a push? Dive into those three books to get the kick you need.
By Julia Migné
Have you ever stared at a blank canvas or a white page desperately wishing for the inspiration to strike you? That can be an incredibly frustrating experience but that’s also one that most creative minds out there experience fairly frequently.
Creative blocks come without a warning and don’t discriminate between novice and professional artists. Be it a student desperately trying to create an artwork or a best-selling author wondering what to do next, they might both end up feeling stuck with whatever they are trying to create.
Sometimes the feeling doesn’t last too long and a few hours of procrastination (my flat is never cleaner than when I’m experiencing a writer’s block) are enough to put you in the right mood. Other times it can just feel like your muse has left you forever and you might never be able to write/paint/sculpt ever again.
You might be relieved to hear that there are writers out there who have faced that exact same despair and who, luckily for us, ended up writing about what helped them get back on track. Here are three of those books that contain plenty of useful tips for anyone experiencing a creative block:
1. Ice Cream for Breakfast by Laura Jane Williams
Journalist and author Laura Jane Williams was on the verge of the career she had always dreamed of in 2016 when she published her first book Becoming. While everyone was expecting her to feel over the moon and excited, she just felt “dead inside”. A visit to her GP put an official label on what she was feeling: burned out.
In need of something different and having seen an advert on GumTree for a part-time nanny, Laura embarked on a nine-month period where she spent 25 hours a week taking care of three under-eleven children. Suddenly focusing all her attention on them completely transformed Laura’s mindset and by the end of week one, she was able to marvel again.
Ice Cream for Breakfast is a collection of all the lessons she learned from interacting with those three children and is an invitation to rediscover your inner child.
From the importance of going on adventures to dreaming bigger, the book gives you permission to take a break and reassess what is truly important. Punctuated with little exercises, it is the perfect read to stop taking yourself so seriously and to bring in some much-needed fun into whatever creative venture you are trying to achieve.
2. Quiet by Fearne Cotton
Following her books Happy and Calm, broadcaster and author Fearne Cotton now dives into the topic of brain chatter and self-worth.
Mixing personal anecdotes and interviews with experts again, Fearne explores different ways of silencing the brain chatter that might stop us from unlocking our full potential.
For creatives, internal chatter can sometimes become so loud that it feels impossible to string two words together on the page. The fear of failing or not being good enough can make any good writer freeze but silencing that damaging inner narrative requires some strong mental power.
We forget how capable and strong we can be. There is confidence there even if it’s hidden; there is courage, beauty, wisdom and belief – we just need some quiet to notice it.Fearne Cotton
Throughout the book, Fearne explores the importance of courage, trust, self-love, sleep, and confidence, giving her readers small exercises to pause and reflect along the way.
This book is the perfect read if you feel like your inner chatter is taking over and you are in need of some quiet.
3. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert shares her wisdom and views on creative living in her book Big Magic. An ideal read for any budding artist, the book takes the readers through a mix of personal stories and anecdotes from other creative minds on how they interact with their art.
Shifting away from the stereotype of the tortured artist, Elizabeth encourages us to actually enjoy the pursuit of our creative endeavours and explains that inspiration doesn’t have to come through pain and struggle.
Be the weirdo who dares to enjoy.Elizabeth Gilbert
Touching on topics such as courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust and even divinity, this book will make you want to get to your creative endeavour feeling rejuvenated and empowered.
Be it through Elizabeth’s magical stories or through her experience in the writing industry, Big Magic leaves the readers with plenty of food for thought. No worries though if you are left wanting for more. You can check her podcast Magic Lessons to bring even more creative brilliance into your life.