Positive Writer

Writing through doubt and fear, and you can, too!

31 of the Best Books on Creativity: EVER!

It’s time for you to create something absolutely awesome, and these books will help!

Books on Creativity650

The artists must be sacrificed to their art. Like the bees, they must put their lives into the sting they give.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

You know you’ve got it in you: Creativity. In abundance. You’re an artist.

Hopefully you’re younger and smarter than me, and haven’t been told to grow up so many damn times that you’ve forgotten what it’s like to be weird and create stuff simply for the sake of creating it. Not for money. Not for fame. Not for any rewards. Just for, you know, doing it.

It took me 10 years to start writing again, to let my freak flag fly and create work I care about – work that matters.

Now I’m the weirdo I was always meant to be: A creative. A writer. An artist. An individual who has given up on the ridiculous struggle to fit in and has decided once and for all, to be himself.

I don’t care how old you are, don’t ever let anyone convince you to grow up and give up on your dreams.

Stay young, stay weird and never stop creating.

Be yourself.

Besides, weird is the new cool.

Weird is the new cool! (Click to Tweet)


Click the underlined book titles to visit them on Amazon. They are listed in no particular order and are only numbered for reference.


The Creative Habit

The Creative Habit

by Twyla Tharp

Reading, conversation, environment, culture, heroes, mentors, nature — all are lottery tickets for creativity. Scratch away at them and you’ll find out how big a prize you’ve won.



Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

by Austin Kleon

The artist is a collector. Not a hoarder, mind you, there’s a difference: Hoarders collect indiscriminately, artists collect selectively. They only collect things that they really love.



Imagine: How Creativity Works

by Jonah Lehrer

We need to be willing to risk embarrassment, ask silly questions, surround ourselves with people who don’t know what we’re talking about. We need to leave behind the safety of our expertise.



The Art of Work

by Jeff Goins

…as we step into our life’s work, we discover that we have been preparing for this our whole lives, even though in that very moment we feel insufficient.



Thinking Fast and Slow

by Daniel Kahneman

Nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you are thinking about it



Creative Confidence

by Tom Kelly and David Kelly

As Brown writes: “When our self-worth isn’t on the line, we are far more willing to be courageous and risk sharing our raw talents and gifts.” One way to embrace creativity, Brown says, is to let go of comparison.



Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

by Ed Catmull

Failure isn’t a necessary evil. In fact, it isn’t evil at all. It is a necessary consequence of doing something new.



Turning Pro

by Steven Pressfield

To feel ambition and to act upon it is to embrace the unique calling of our souls. Not to act upon that ambition is to turn our backs on ourselves and on the reason for our existence.



Art & Fear

by David Bayles & Ted Orland

Vision, Uncertainty, and Knowledge of Materials are inevitabilities that all artists must acknowledge and learn from: vision is always ahead of execution, knowledge of materials is your contact with reality, and uncertainty is a virtue.



My Stroke of Insight

by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D.

To the right mind, no time exists other than the present moment, and each moment is vibrant with sensation. Life or death occurs in the present moment. The experience of joy happens in the present moment. Our perception and experience of connection with something that is greater than ourselves occurs in the present moment. To our right mind, the moment of now is timeless and abundant.



Disciplined Dreaming A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity

by Josh Linkner

Ask yourself this: If there was zero chance of failure, what would you do? Now, go do that.



Art Before Breakfast: A Zillion Ways to be More Creative No Matter How Busy You Are

by Danny Gregory

Mistakes are lessons in disguise and accurate reflections of your true state. Maybe you need to slow down. Maybe your initial expectation was actually what was wrong. Maybe you need to draw more often.

An indulgence of creativity:


Every creative must indulge in themselves and their art, which of course, is one and the same. Never be afraid to be yourself and to share your work with the world. You’ll never get noticed waiting to get noticed. Raise your hand―then wave it like frigg’n crazy!


writers doubt

Writer’s Doubt: The #1 Enemy of Writing (And What You Can Do About It)

by Bryan Hutchinson

Have you ever felt you were meant for more as a writer, as an artist, and, as a person? Good. Don’t let doubt, fear, or anyone other than yourself, decide whether you have a future as a writer.


The Audacity to be a Writer: 50 Inspiring Articles on Writing that could Change your life

by Multiple Authors

You write about things that matter to you, and I’m sure you hope those things will matter to others, but even if they don’t, you’re still going to do the work. That’s what artists do. It’s remarkable. But it’s more than that. It’s audacious.



The Little Spark — 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity

by Carrie Bloomston

Those wildly scary stories you tell yourself that give you anxiety attacks come from the same source (your imagination) that helps you create wildly imaginative works of art.



Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

by Elizabeth Gilbert

Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.



The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

by Brene Brown

Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.


manage day to day

Manage Your Day-to-Day

by Jocelyn K. Glei

Today’s challenge is to keep your focus and preserve the sanctity of mind required to create, and to ultimately make an impact in what matters most to you. This can only happen when you capitalize on the here and now. To do this, alternate periods of connectedness with periods of truly being present.



Creativity On Demand: How to Ignite and Sustain the Fire of Genius

by Michael J. Gelb

Over-seriousness is a warning sign for mediocrity and bureaucratic thinking. People who are seriously committed to mastery and high performance are secure enough to lighten up.



The Doodle Revolution: Unlock the Power to Think Differently

by Sunni Brown

I use doodling for a variety of reasons: I use it to get clarity around a concept, I use it to relax, I use it to communicate ideas with others and get their refinement of them, I use it to map complex systems for companies, I use it to run innovation games for business, I use it to get insight on something puzzling me.



Writing Down the Bones

by Natalie Goldberg

We are important and our lives are important, magnificent really, and their details are worthy to be recorded. This is how writers must think, this is how we must sit down with pen in hand. We were here; we are human beings; this is how we lived. Let it be known, the earth passed before us. Our details are important. Otherwise, if they are not, we can drop a bomb and it doesn’t matter. . .



How to Get Ideas

by Jack Foster

Rules are a great way to get ideas. All you have to do is break them.



Daily Rituals: How Artists Work

by Mason Currey

Inspiration is for amateurs,” Close says. “The rest of us just show up and get to work.



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.



Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision & Reality

by Scott Belsky

Self-leadership is about awareness, tolerance , and not letting your own natural tendencies limit your potential.



Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work, and Never Get Stuck

by Jon Acuff

Day one of our new adventure behind us, we are shocked to learn the hardest lesson of chasing a dream. When you go for it, you don’t escape fear, you land in it. Fear is not a dragon to be slain once, it’s an ocean to be swum daily.



The War of Art

by Steven Pressfield

This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.



Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques

by Michael Michalko

Set yourself an idea quota for a challenge you are working on, such as five new ideas every day for a week. You’ll find the first five are the hardest, but these will quickly trigger other ideas. The more ideas you come up with, the greater your chances of coming up with a winner.



The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson

by Ralph Waldo Emerson

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.



Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

by Adam Grant

Procrastination may be the enemy of productivity, but it can be a resource for creativity.



You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life

by Jen Sincero

You are loved. Massively. Ferociously. Unconditionally. The Universe is totally freaking out about how awesome you are. It’s got you wrapped in a warm gorilla hug of adoration. It wants to give you everything you desire. It wants you to be happy. It wants you to see what it sees in you.

Remember, don’t ever, ever grow up. Ever.


Now go, create something awesome!

About Bryan Hutchinson

I'm a positive writer and when that doesn't work, I eat chocolate. I help fellow writers overcome doubt and thrive! In my free time, I love visiting castles with my wife, Joan. Join me on Twitter and Facebook.

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  • Penny

    Thanks so much for this list Bryan. I see several titles that I don’t know, but soon will! As a song writer, (and now a blogger) I have been reading and re-reading for years 2 of the books on your list- “The War of Art” and “Emerson’s Essential Essays” For me they are early morning devotional reading. Constant reminders of my unique abilities and the necessity of sharing them with an audience, no matter how big or how small-

  • Absolutely LOVE this list – wrote several of these down and will add to my Amazon wishlist. – I already have “How to Steal Like an Artist” in there, should probably move that up a few notches… Also, I have “Writing Down the Bones” and that is one of my very favorite books in my library. If you don’t have it, go get it – now. 🙂 Thank you for a wonderful list of creative resources – I need it more than my own skin at this point.

  • Great list, I have read a couple and another is already on my to read list. Looks like I need to add some more.

  • Judy Peterman Blackburn

    I’ve only heard of two on the list and have read them both. The Art of Work by Jeff Goins, and Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. I very much want to read some of the others here. I would also suggest another by Natalie, Wild Mind and my favorite, If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland. Thank you for a great list of reading. 🙂

  • I’m in the process of The Artists Way…. it has helped me define what I want to do for a living. The only question now is what to read next! Thank you so much for this amazing list.

  • Elena Tinga

    Thank you so much for this list. The Artists Way is the only one I have read -and quite a few more that are not in your list. I love all books on creativity, but they are a little hard to access in my country.

  • Thank you so much for this list! I know what I’ll be doing over the summer (hopefully). So far I’ve read The Art of Work and it’s really inspiring.

  • Always need help with story ideas, so this is really awesome. Thanks for the list.