The Artists Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self
by Julia Cameron
At the top of the list has to be ‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron. This twelve week course is designed to bring you into creative recovery. It will help you recognise your own creative yearnings, and to proceed with confidence wherever you are on your creative journey. Its peppered by motivational quotes, so the book is fun to leaf through, and the work is eye-opening and powerful. I often return to the basic tools at times, and I still find them effective. If anything, the book unleashes so much creativity and so many ideas that if you are already someone with too many, rather than too few, ideas, it can be a little unwieldy to see them through. The follow up books, too, have lots of great ideas and follow the same premise. An inspiration.
Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway
by Susan Jeffers
Is this the original self-help book? I remember buying and devouring it in my twenties, but choosing not to share it with friends and family. Self-help books were generally the butt of jokes, and were something I felt I shouldn’t need. But I did need it, and this book’s value has not diminished over the years. Jeffers’ book dismantles the fear we often feel about being ourselves. Many choose to stay stuck in familiar territory, despite the fact that its suffocating to us and those around us. Jeffers reminds us that creativity is a choice, and gives many useful examples of how to handle the risk in taking a step into the unknown, a cornerstone of being creative! Jeffers makes not just OK but important to make mistakes and learn from them.
The Soul’s Code, In Search of Character and Calling
by James Hillman
What were you born for? What unique pattern is unfolding in you? Towards what particular end? How have your life experiences been exactly what you needed to get to this end? This is a great book for any artist because it instils deep confidence in our individual path, and encourages us to listen. It shifts the mindset from victim to protagonist in our own lives, and makes us responsible for our experiences. Case studies of well known creative people colour the book and illustrate Hillman’s point beautifully.
The Universe Story
by Brian Schwimme and Thomas Berry
This book raises important questions about creativity in terms of evolution and our part in it, while telling the story of an intelligent universe from the ‘Big Bang’ to the ‘ecozoic era’ of today. Importantly, they show how the element of choice has played vital role; the choice of the bull to stand or the horse to run in the face of danger. Not a ‘conscious’ choice perhaps, but a following of something that is true to their inner nature: “a vision strongly felt, but fleetingly and in darkness” . This idea has profound consequences in how we live too, since we must conclude that our own inner directives often also felt ‘but fleetingly and in darkness’ are important not just for us but for our environment. This book will encourage you to credit your inner yearnings with cosmic importance, and to listen and see them through without needing to know the outcome.
A New Earth
by Eckhart Tolle
The follow up book to the Power of Now this book works to release the reader from the ego’s obsession with itself, and move them into the pure experience of living in the present. To operate knowing the only place you can act is in the now. This has a profound effect on our creativity. If we want to be more creative, what are we doing right now about it? Many artists are fragile after experiences of rejection or failure, so they stop, stall, or find they are blocked. This book explains how the ‘pain-body’ works, to free us from unnecessary suffering. In learning that ‘all structures are unstable’, including the structures we build our lives around, our calcified ideas dissolve and we step into the creative flow of life. It requires some mental athletics to do and this is a book you can come back to again and again.
One From The Heart
by Claire Saunders
This little book is hard to find in shops but has an ISBN code so should be available to order through your library. It is a fount of guidance which can support you in moments of doubt, as you step from the known to the unknown. Writing in strange and archaic, yet understandable language, the author is faithful to the wisdom that tumbled through her as she channelled the book. It is a book designed to be opened randomly for positive guidance and the of words of wisdom are sustaining, speaking to the exact situation you need guidance on. It is my constant companion.
Any book or publication on what you love
What do you love to read when you are having time off? Fashion mags? Trashy novels? Recipe books? Travel blogs? Indulge yourself. This is filling the well. For me its Astrology. I’ve devoured dozens, even hundreds of books since my youth, even more articles and endless charts. If I want to rest, I go to Astrology. As a real indulgence I will attend a class, and maybe find some rare books. For me Astrology is an exploration of myself and of the people, world and events around me. It’s not of practical use, as not many people speak its language, but it feeds me. I am playing with what I love, which is one of the most important keys to being creative. If you are not sure, then explore a book shop, library, magazine shelf and don’t censor what calls you. Find what feeds you and make sure you indulge it whenever you can. This is your gift. It fills the well.
Helen Tyrell is a Coach and Facilitator with an MSc in Sustainability and Responsibility from Ashridge Business School. As a one-time professional Artist, Helen now chooses to work as a creative ‘amateur’, as in a ‘lover’ of art, writing, poetry and creativity, exploring how her own creativity manifests, flourishes, is nurtured and its effect on her life and that of others. Helen spent over ten years working in business within the field of Sustainability and she interested in the role of creativity in redefining our lives, our organizations, and our relationship with the earth.