Has your creative edge been steamrollered by self-doubt or procrastination? Get your groove back with these three books.
“It’s really important to understand the creative process within yourself,” Tommy says. “We all work slightly differently; we’re all going to have different things that inspire us or make us feel energised.”
Tommy says that fear of failure – which can manifest as procrastination, avoidance or perfectionism – often dims our creative spark and stops us from stepping outside our comfort zone. But whatever it is that’s holding you back, it’s crucial to find a way to move forward.
“It’s the doing that leads you to the answers and creates space for that growth and understanding,” Tommy says.
Here are Tommy’s three book suggestions.
1 Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
If you’re feeling stuck and want to break out of a rut, there are lots of useful nuggets in this book.
“Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is one of my favourites. She says it’s important at the beginning of the creative journey to understand that fear will be part of the process, so you may as well invite it along. Rather than squashing it down and pushing it away, acknowledge it.”
Top quote from Big Magic
“A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life.”
Fear is boring – it’s your creativity that is unique.
Written by best-selling author and marketing guru Seth Godin, The Practice dismantles the myth of the creative genius who conjures up masterpieces as if by magic. Godin advises creatives to put the hours in and be consistent with their output. Don’t look for hacks; focus on the process rather than the outcome.
“One book that I read last year, which kind of flips it all on its head, is The Practice by Seth Godin. His approach is the opposite of the idea of magical creativity coming to you. He’s like, ‘No, you need to show up and do the work’.
“At first, I was like, ‘this is really jarring with what I know to be creativity’. But I soon realised he’s got a point. If you want something a bit more direct, then it’s really great.”
Top quote from The Practice
“Our experiences and dreams and fears are unique, and we shape the discourse by allowing those ideas to be shared. It might not work. But only you have your distinct voice, and hoarding it is toxic.”
Consistency will improve your creativity.
3 The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron
Since it was published 31 years ago, millions of people have read Cameron’s guide to rebooting creativity. Cameron urges readers to commit to writing three pages of thoughts longhand every morning. ‘Morning Pages’ are a chance for you to offload whatever is on your mind and develop a sense of clarity.
“The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is a 12-week programme taking you through lots of mindset stuff and ways to work through challenges and which I would recommend.”
Top quote from The Artist’s Way
“Morning pages leave no corner of our life unexamined…A day at a time, a page at a time, an issue at a time, we become intimate with ourselves. Our hidden feelings become known to us.”
We are all inherently creative.
For tips on dealing with writer’s block, goal-setting and establishing a growth mindset, listen to the full interview with Tommy on Singing Teachers Talk.