When I Face A Creative Block, I Turn to These Books

Impactful reads to “un-stuck” your mind and give you fresh ideas.

When I Face A Creative Block, I Turn to These Books
Photo by Dragos Gontariu on Unsplash

Impactful reads to “un-stuck” your mind and give you fresh ideas.

Since 2020, I’ve published 850+ articles on Medium.

This has helped me grow my profile to 173k+ followers, making $50k+ from the Medium Partner Program alone.

When someone hears my numbers, the first question they ask is, 

“850 articles in 2.5 years. How did you never run out of ideas?”

The truth is, I did. Multiple times.

As a writer, it’s natural to suffer from a creative block.

It’s all a part of the routine to feel like you’ve used up all your good ideas and that you’ll never be able to write anything meaningful again.

Creative block is a temporary state where you feel stuck mentally and can’t generate fresh ideas. Being stuck in a creative block for too long may cause low self-esteem, self-doubt, and fear. 

Suffering from a creative block is natural. But staying in it is a choice.

The key is to remember that this is just a phase and we can overcome it by making simple changes in everyday life.

If you’re in a creative block or don’t know how to find your lost creativity, I’ve got your back. Whenever I face a creative block, I turn to these books. They give me the burst of inspiration to start ideating and writing again.

I’m sure they’ll help you too.

1. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

Image: Goodreads

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is not just a book but a guide to completely transform your life.

Sometimes we start questioning our abilities and there’s a fear of failure that keeps us stuck. This is what we call creative block or artist’s block. It might continue for years if you choose not to work on that. This book can help you through your creative recovery process so you can find your lost zest for life.

After completing the twelve-week program step by step as mentioned in The Artist’s Way, I met a newer and more confident version of myself. 

But this was not an easy road. I started to follow this book many times and almost gave up in the earlier weeks. It takes sheer commitment and determination if you truly want to revitalize your inner artist. In the later weeks, I started enjoying the book even more.

The biggest takeaway from this book was writing morning pages every day. This has become a habit I stick to religiously every day of my life.

You don’t have to write about anything specific in the morning pages. Just blurt out anything that is going on in your mind and see the magic. After every week you will notice all your negative thoughts, fears, self doubts are replaced by positive affirmations and confidence.

Creativity is a practice and The Artist’s Way teaches us how to commit to that. The book emphasizes the spiritual aspect of creativity and helps the readers connect with the creative force inside them. The Artist’s Way cleared the self-doubt I had when I was starting something new on my own.

My favorite quotes from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

“No matter what your age or your life path, whether making art is your career or your hobby or your dream, it is not too late or too egotistical or too selfish or too silly to work on your creativity.”
“Serious art is born from serious play.”
“Creativity — like human life itself — begins in darkness”

2. Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Image: Goodreads

The secret to happiness is simple, as mentioned in Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It lies in the flow state. 

A state of flow occurs when someone is entirely focused on an activity that gives them satisfaction in the end. It can be seen in our everyday life when we’re cleaning, writing something, drawing, or reading books. 

But there are certain conditions to attain that Flow. If the task is challenging and attainable, you might reach the flow state. It is also possible when you can concentrate on a task without being frustrated or aware of worries. 

In the flow state, you have a sense of control over your actions and are not self-conscious. 

To consciously attain a flow state you have to clearly define your goals and get immediate feedback. Most importantly, cultivating a sense of mindfulness is essential for experiencing flow in different activities. 

The book wonderfully explains how flow can enhance your productivity and encourage you to take action. Through compelling anecdotes and philosophical knowledge, Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi helps you attain the flow state in your everyday activities.

My favorite quotes from Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

“People who learn to control inner experience will be able to determine the quality of their lives, which is as close as any of us can come to being happy.”
“The psychic entropy peculiar to the human condition involves seeing more to do than one can actually accomplish and feeling able to accomplish more than what conditions allow.”
“Few things are sadder than encountering a person who knows exactly what he should do, yet cannot muster enough energy to do it.”

3. Happier Hour by Cassie Holmes

Image: Goodreads

Many people complain that they don’t get time for themselves or their families. They regret they’ve lost the zest for life and the time to pursue their creative side. It’s true to some extent because we all have 24 hours a day and we have little time to sleep. We’re becoming ‘time-poor’ day by day. 

The solution to this problem lies in The Happier Hour by Cassie Holmes. This book has practical advice on how to invest your time so you can focus more on things that give you happiness.

We invest so many hours in working that we forget to stop and take time to cherish a moment in life. This might be the biggest reason for the creative block because somehow we feel disconnected from ourselves. The Happier Hour is an actionable guidebook to optimally spend your time and keep distractions away. 

I was amazed by the real-life examples and practical suggestions that can be implemented easily. I started treating weekends like vacations and became more productive on weekdays. These small changes can make a big difference in life. I loved the time tracker exercise in the book. It gave me clarity about where I should spend my precious time. 

My favorite quotes from Happier Hour by Cassie Holmes

“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. — Carl Sandburg”
“People with too little time are significantly less happy and less satisfied in life.”

4. Wabi-Sabi by Leonard Koren

Image: Goodreads

Sometimes, the main reason behind a creative block is our underlying perfectionism. Our creative sides won’t flourish if we can’t embrace imperfections. So, let go of perfection and just start the work. 

Perfection is a myth and there’s beauty in imperfection. Wabi-Sabi by Leonard Koren is a wonderful short read that explains wabi-sabi, an ancient Japanese belief that true beauty lies in imperfection and incompleteness.

Its teachings can be applied to all including artists, philosophers, writers, and poets. Wabi Sabi encourages readers to let go of control and appreciate the natural processes of growth, transformation, and decay. The principles of Wabi Sabi can be applied in real life as well. We should try to find meaning in simple aspects of our surroundings.

I was compelled to read Wabi Sabi because I was attracted to the imperfect, yet beautiful photographs in the book. But I ended up reading this book in one sitting. I found the author’s words soothing. They gave me a moment to stop and reflect on the deeper meaning of beauty.

My favorite quotes from Wabi-Sabi by Leonard Koren

“Things are either devolving toward, or evolving from, nothingness.”
“The closer things get to nonexistence, the more exquisite and evocative they become. Consequently to experience wabi-wabi means you have to slow way down, be patient, and look very closely.”
“There is also the memory of the hut in the mind of the traveler — and in the mind of the reader reading this description. Wabi-sabi, in its purest, most idealized form, is precisely about these delicate traces, this faint evidence, at the border of nothingness.”

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