10 Must-Read Books for Creative Minds: A Literary Guide
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


  1. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
  2. The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
  3. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
  4. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
  5. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
  6. On Writing by Stephen King
  7. The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
  8. Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon
  9. The Element by Ken Robinson
  10. The Accidental Creative by Todd Henry

There's something magical about diving into a new book, especially for those of us with creative minds. It's like stepping into a different world, full of inspiration and wisdom, where every page turn brings a fresh burst of insight and aha moments. If you're on the hunt for some new reading material to spark your imagination and hone your skills, you've come to the right place. We've put together a carefully curated list of must-read books for creative minds. These literary gems offer a wealth of inspiration and practical tips for skill building. So, let's get started!

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

One book that absolutely belongs on your must-read list is 'Big Magic' by Elizabeth Gilbert. Known for her enchanting prose, Gilbert paints a vivid picture of the creative process in a way that's both relatable and thought-provoking. Here's why you'll want to add this book to your reading list:

  • Debunking the 'Tortured Artist' Myth: Gilbert challenges the notion that creativity and suffering go hand-in-hand. She encourages you to embrace joy in your creative endeavors instead of succumbing to the stereotypical tortured artist persona.
  • Embracing Fear: Fear is a constant companion in any creative journey. But instead of letting it hold you back, Gilbert suggests acknowledging it and moving forward anyway. It's a refreshing perspective that can help you tackle your creative projects with renewed confidence.
  • Magic in the Mundane: One of the key messages in 'Big Magic' is that inspiration can strike anywhere, at any time. You don't have to wait for the perfect circumstances or the perfect idea. You just have to be open to the magic in the everyday.

In essence, 'Big Magic' is a love letter to creativity, filled with pearls of wisdom that can help you navigate your creative journey. It's a literary gem that deserves a spot on your bookshelf.

The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

Next up on our list of must-read books for creative minds is 'The Artist's Way' by Julia Cameron. This book is more than just a reading experience—it's a 12-week course designed to help you unlock your creativity and conquer any blocks that stand in your way. Here's why 'The Artist's Way' should be on your reading list:

  • Morning Pages: Cameron introduces a practice called Morning Pages, where you write three pages of free writing every morning. It's a simple, yet powerful exercise that can clear your mind and make room for creative ideas to flow.
  • Artist Dates: This book also encourages you to schedule regular 'Artist Dates'—time spent alone to feed your creativity and explore new ideas. It might sound simple, but taking time for yourself can make a world of difference.
  • Personal Growth: Cameron's exercises are designed to help you dig deep and uncover any emotional blocks you may have towards creativity. It's a journey of self-discovery that can lead to personal growth and a deeper understanding of your creative self.

'The Artist's Way' is a practical, hands-on guide that offers a fresh perspective on creativity. It's not just about improving your skills—it's about transforming your mindset and embracing your creative potential. That's why it's a must-read for any creative mind.

Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

Continuing on our curated list of literary gems for inspiration and skill building, we have 'Steal Like an Artist' by Austin Kleon. This is a book that turns traditional notions of creativity on their head, making it a must-read for anyone looking to shake up their creative process. Here's what you can expect from 'Steal Like an Artist':

  • Embrace Influence: Kleon argues that nothing is completely original, and that all creative work builds on what came before. He encourages you to embrace your influences, mix and match ideas, and create your own unique blend.
  • Start Now: One of the main messages in this book is to start creating, no matter where you are or what resources you have. Kleon believes that you don't need to wait for the perfect conditions to start—you just need to start.
  • Work with Your Hands: Kleon is a big advocate of analog, encouraging readers to step away from the digital world and get their hands dirty. There's something about working with physical materials that can unlock new levels of creativity.

'Steal Like an Artist' is a book that challenges and inspires. It's about breaking free from conventional wisdom and finding your own creative path. So, if you're feeling a little stuck in your creative journey, Austin Kleon's 'Steal Like an Artist' might just be the spark you need.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Next up on our curated list of must-read books for creative minds is 'The War of Art' by Steven Pressfield. This book is a battle cry against the many forms of resistance that prevent us from reaching our creative potential. Here's why 'The War of Art' should be on your reading list:

  • Understanding Resistance: Do you ever find yourself avoiding your work, even though you love it? That's resistance, according to Pressfield. He argues that understanding and acknowledging this resistance is the first step towards overcoming it.
  • Turning Pro: Pressfield believes that treating your art like a professional, rather than a hobbyist, is key to overcoming resistance. 'Turning pro' means showing up every day, whether you feel like it or not, and doing the work.
  • Muse and Angelic Assistance: Ever heard of the 'muses'? Pressfield introduces the concept of divine assistance that comes to us when we commit to our work. It may sound a little out there, but who knows? It might just inspire you to sit down and create.

'The War of Art' is a rallying cry for all creatives out there, struggling to create. It's a potent reminder that the work is hard, but it's worth it. So, if you're feeling a little beaten down by resistance, 'The War of Art' might be the ally you need in your creative journey.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Of course, any list of must-read books for creative minds wouldn't be complete without the inclusion of 'Bird by Bird' by Anne Lamott. This book is a love letter to the joys and pains of the creative process. Here's why you should add 'Bird by Bird' to your reading list:

  • One Step at a Time: Staring at a blank page or canvas can be daunting. Lamott suggests taking it 'bird by bird', or one small step at a time. This approach makes the creative process less overwhelming and more manageable.
  • Shitty First Drafts: Excuse the language, but it’s Lamott’s term, not mine! Lamott gives us permission to write terrible first drafts. It's in the editing process that our work begins to shine. This concept can liberate you from the fear of not being good enough.
  • Writing as a Mirror: Lamott sees writing as a form of self-reflection. It helps us understand ourselves and the world around us. If you've ever wondered why you create, 'Bird by Bird' might help you find some answers.

'Bird by Bird' is a warm, witty, and wise guide for anyone navigating the choppy waters of creativity. If you're looking for a book that understands the highs and lows of the creative process, then 'Bird by Bird' should be next on your reading list.

On Writing by Stephen King

Have you ever wondered how one of the world's most successful authors hones his craft? 'On Writing' by Stephen King is the answer to that question. Part memoir, part masterclass, this book is a must-read for creative minds. So, why should you consider adding 'On Writing' to your literary repertoire?

  • Learn from the Best: Stephen King is a titan of the literary world. His advice on writing is invaluable. From the importance of reading to the value of persistence, King's insights can help you grow as a creative person.
  • The Toolbox Metaphor: King uses the metaphor of a toolbox for writing. He argues that grammar, vocabulary, style, and theme are all tools that a writer needs. It's not just about having the tools, but knowing how to use them effectively.
  • Write for Yourself: King advocates for writing what you know and love. He argues that you should write for yourself first, then worry about your audience. If you're passionate about your work, it'll shine through and engage your readers.

There's a reason why 'On Writing' is often cited as one of the best books on the craft. Not only does it provide practical advice, but it also offers a glimpse into the mind of a master storyteller. So, if you're in need of some literary inspiration, 'On Writing' should definitely be on your reading list.

The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

Unlocking creativity can sometimes feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. But what if the key to creativity isn't some elusive, mystical force? What if it's as simple as developing a habit? Enter: 'The Creative Habit' by Twyla Tharp.

  • Everyday Creativity: Tharp, a renowned choreographer, posits that creativity isn't a rare gift for the few, but a vital part of everyday life. She believes creativity is more about hard work and dedication than waiting for a flash of inspiration.
  • Concrete Exercises: 'The Creative Habit' is not just an abstract exploration of creativity. Tharp includes over thirty practical exercises to stimulate creativity and push past mental blocks. You'll find yourself thinking in ways you never have before.
  • Personal Stories: Tharp's personal anecdotes beautifully illustrate her points and make the book relatable. She shares stories from her career, her struggles, and her triumphs, offering valuable lessons for aspiring creatives.

In 'The Creative Habit', Twyla Tharp reframes creativity as a skill to be honed rather than a talent one is born with. It's a must-read book for creative minds seeking a curated list of literary gems for inspiration and skill building. This book is a testament to the idea that creativity can, indeed, become a habit.

Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon

Think back to when you were a kid, proudly presenting your latest crayon masterpiece to your parents. That's the kind of unabashed sharing Austin Kleon encourages in 'Show Your Work!' It's all about letting your creativity shine, not in the shadows, but in broad daylight.

  • Demystifying the Process: Kleon argues that sharing the process is as important as the end product. By showing your work, you invite others into your creative journey, fostering connection and collaboration.
  • Building an Audience: 'Show Your Work!' offers practical advice on how to build an audience in the digital age. Kleon provides tips on using social media to your advantage, emphasizing authenticity over marketing gimmicks.
  • Overcoming Fear: The thought of sharing your work can be daunting. What if people don't like it? What if they steal your ideas? Kleon tackles these fears head-on, encouraging readers to view sharing as a strength, not a vulnerability.

'Show Your Work!' is an empowering guide, a must-read book for creative minds on building and sharing your creative practice. It's part of our curated list of literary gems that inspire and aid skill building. So, are you ready to show your work?

The Element by Ken Robinson

Remember when you lost track of time because you were so engrossed in what you were doing? That's what Ken Robinson calls being in 'The Element.' This book explores the intersection of natural talent and personal passion. Let's dive deeper into what this must-read book for creative minds offers.

  • Finding Your Element: Robinson believes everyone has an 'Element' - a place where things we love to do and things we're good at come together. He provides insights and exercises to help you discover your own Element.
  • The Role of Creativity: Robinson argues that creativity is as important in education as literacy. He promotes the idea of a creativity-friendly education system that nurtures rather than undermines creativity.
  • Real-life Stories: 'The Element' includes fascinating stories of famous creatives who found their Element. From Paul McCartney to Matt Groening, these tales provide relatable inspiration.

'The Element' is more than just a book; it's a call to redefine our understanding of intelligence and creativity. It is a beacon on our curated list of must-read books for creative minds, offering both inspiration and skill building. So, are you ready to find your Element?

The Accidental Creative by Todd Henry

Have you ever felt that your creative juices are running dry? Or that you're just not as innovative as you used to be? Don't worry, you're not alone. In 'The Accidental Creative,' Todd Henry presents strategies to stay brilliant and prolific in a world that demands constant innovation.

  • Developing Creative Rhythms: Henry introduces the concept of creating rhythms instead of routines. This small shift can lead to big changes in how you approach your creative work.
  • Practices for Productivity: The book offers practical advice on managing your energy, fostering focus, and creating an environment that fuels creativity.
  • Building a Creative Community: Henry emphasizes the importance of surrounding oneself with stimulating individuals. He provides tips on how to build and maintain such a community.

'The Accidental Creative' is a standout in our list of must-read books for creative minds. It's not just about finding inspiration—it's about creating the conditions for it to thrive. Imagine being able to build a well of creativity that never runs dry. Sounds like a dream, doesn't it? With 'The Accidental Creative,' it doesn't have to be.

If you're inspired by our list of must-read books for creative minds and eager to further cultivate your creativity, don't miss the workshop 'How To Deal: Cultivating Inspiration & Creativity' by Grace Miceli. This workshop will provide you with practical tips and techniques to nurture your creative process and keep the inspiration flowing.