5 Books To Kick Your Creative Butt

I stopped reading for a long time. 

I think it started in high school during the beginning of my super burned out senior year. Between the mandatory dystopian reading lists and the busy-work of margin annotation, I just lost that spark. It wasn't until a recent trip to Portland and, more specifically, a 3-hour stint in Powell's that I remembered how much I freaking loved books. 

I came home with a stack of novels that I blew through in about two weeks. One of the many hidden perks of a daily commute.

In fact, it was during a commute that I was reinvigorated to dust off my little corner of the internet and freshen up my website-ing skills. 

But only after I had enjoyed the following library of inspiring favorites. 

So without further ado, here are the five books I read that inspired me to invest in myself and what I love to do.

5 Books To Kick Your Creative Butt
Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.
— Elizabeth Gilbert

I freaking love how much Elizabeth Gilbert loves what she does. In this book, she talks about the elusive nature of inspiration and what your life looks like when you finally give yourself permission to do what you love. Definitely recommended for anyone feeling stuck in a seemingly permanent creative rut.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
By Elizabeth Gilbert

Don’t try to win over the haters; you are not a jackass whisperer.
— Brené Brown

I'll be the first to admit this book was hard to get through. For good reasons though. Brené Brown talks about shame-based, codependent behaviors and the negative effects they can have on our identities, our relationships and our families. I recommend this one because, I think, true creativity, at its core, is about being vulnerable and giving your inner critic the middle finger.

The only art I’ll ever study is stuff that I can steal from.
— Austin Kleon

I think we spend so much time trying to be totally original and amazing and unique when we are already original and amazing and unique because we have been shaped through our experiences and exposure to other brilliantly unique people. A fast and to-the-point and finish-in-a-weekend kind of a book.

The risk of being known is also the decision to be criticized by some.
— Donald Miller

Although you'd probably find this title under the "Christian Spirituality" section at your local bookstore, the focus of this book is about pursuing authenticity in your life, for yourself and with others. I think a huge part of the creative process is all about connection. To your work, to others, and connecting with your true self. A thoughtful read.  

Regardless of your age or station in life, it all comes down to one simple truth: you just have to start.
— Jon Acuff

Does anyone else agree when I say that starting is always the hardest part? Jon Acuff talks about the shift in our culture and why we shouldn't waste any more time settling for average. The stagnant timeline of "go to college, get a job, retire in 30 years" doesn't cut it anymore. Super motivating and practical for the excuse-makers and the frustrated 9-to-5-ers.