11 best books to spark creativity when you’re feeling stuck

11 best books to spark creativity when you’re feeling stuck

In Reading Lists by Lanie Pemberton

11 best books to spark creativity when you’re feeling stuck

Creativity comes in many forms, from drawing and decorating to cooking and coding. But let's face it, even the best of us sometimes hit a wall. If you feel like your artistic well has run dry, reading the right book might be just what you need. 

Books about creativity are like a secret stash of inspiration waiting to be cracked open. In this list, you’ll find titles about how to get unstuck when you’re out of ideas, overcome hurdles that suppress your talents, and build a routine that fuels your imagination. One of my favorites is Banish Your Inner Critic by Denise Jacobs, which explores how positive self-talk can lead to new breakthroughs.

So what are you waiting for? Stop feeling hopeless and start reading books about being creative instead.

1. Create by Marc Silber

Creativity is like a muscle that needs exercise, so consider Create a sort of boot camp for your brain. Award-winning photographer and educator Silber brings together some of the best minds, from filmmakers to CEOs to TED speakers, to help readers pump up their creative lives and let their inner artists shine.

Start Listening

2. The Little Spark by Carrie Bloomston

If you’re always on the hunt for inspiration, keep Bloomston’s book handy. The Little Spark packs ideas, activities, and encouragement for struggling creatives. Don’t let this concise volume fool you: There’s a wealth of inspiration to be found here.


3. Creative Calling by Chase Jarvis

Jarvis is a world-renowned photographer, creative, and entrepreneur. His treatise on adding creativity to daily life is a great read for struggling and established artists alike. He reminds us that art is meant to be messy and that small changes can have a real impact. 

Start Listening

4. Creativity on Demand by Michael J. Gelb

We often think of that creative “spark” as something that strikes randomly — a phenomenon that’s out of our control. But it doesn’t have to be. In this book, Gelb teaches readers strategies for tapping into inspiration at will. 

These practices are rooted in the Chinese concept of Qi — the ability to connect with your physical and spiritual creativity — and practicing them only takes a few moments of your day. 


5. Banish Your Inner Critic by Denise Jacobs

Indulging in negative self-talk is like throwing water on your creative flame. Banish Your Inner Critic is the toolkit for turning self-criticism into self-compassion. The techniques laid out in this book can help boost your self-esteem, creativity, and overall empathy, which will surely fuel your upcoming artistic endeavors. 

Start Listening

6. Creative Quest by Questlove

If you’re feeling the beginnings of a creative surge, let Creative Quest help you harness that energy. It’s one of the most popular creativity books out there, with a touch of celebrity memoir.

Questlove is the frontman and drummer for The Roots, the house band of The Tonight Show for the last decade and one of the most inspiring musicians working today. In this book, he invites readers along for an illuminating ride, revealing his own creative journey and the lessons learned from working with other talented artists in the music industry.

Start Listening

7. The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp 

Plenty of stories about making art describe the sudden “aha!” moment when an idea first clicks into place. But to be your most creative self, you need to be consciously working for it. Tharp, a choreographer and dancer, offers over 30 exercises to keep those creative juices flowing.


8. No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty

Struggling with writer’s block? It can be truly debilitating, but there's no better person to get you out of a rut than Baty, who founded the literary marathon known as National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which challenges people to write a 50,000-word novel every November. 

After more than 15 years of running NaNoWriMo, he's gleaned advice from long-time authors and first-time novelists that will help you get started and keep going on your next writing project. 


9. Your Creative Career by Anna Sabino

Nothing is more disheartening than unfulfilling work, which is why making a living from your passion is the dream. Sabino’s book offers tools for both your artistic and entrepreneurial sides, so you can cultivate your creativity and live the life you want.

Start Listening

10. Disciplined Dreaming by Josh Linkner

When it comes to the most successful companies out there — from Apple to Patagonia — they all have one thing in common: seemingly endless creativity. But bringing big ideas to life requires fostering the right environment.

Whether you’re a business owner, team leader, or individual contributor, Disciplined Dreaming offers a five-step process for building a creativity-fueled workplace. Linkner uses lessons learned as a jazz musician to support his assertions, and he interviews successful innovators who have their own spin and experiences with the core principles.

Start Listening

11. Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky

An idea is just an idea until you follow through. Belsky’s book explores how to build teams and strategies that take ideas from conception to creation by harnessing creativity and collaboration within and across teams. He even profiles companies who’ve already cracked this code, including IBM and Best Buy. 

Start Listening

Ready to start reading these books? Sign up for a free 30 day trial to Everand, your home for stories and knowledge with millions of ebooks, audiobooks, podcasts, magazines, newspapers, sheet music, and so much more.


About the Author: Lanie Pemberton

Lanie is a San Diego-based freelance writer who loves reading crime thrillers and nonfiction about animals and the natural world. When not writing and reading (or writing about what to read), Lanie spends as much time as possible at the beach with her husband and pampered pittie, Peach.