“The Creative Process is a process of surrender, not control.”

Julia Cameron

Have you ever felt unmotivated when it came to your own creative work? Have you ever felt stuck in the middle of a project? Don’t worry, it’s natural to get in a creative rut once in a while, especially if you’ve been on a solid streak and you’re starting to burn out. Taking a break is necessary to regenerate your body and mind. However, it can still be a challenge to get those creative juices flowing again. Fortunately, there are many activities and resources to help you out with that slump. If the above statements describe your situation, here are the top three books I recommend to get you out of your creative rut.

1. The Book of Doing by Alison Arden

An artist in a creative rut on a bed with books flying around her in the air.
Photo by Lacie Slezak

Coming out of your comfort zone is the key to taking risks and discovering new things. Alison Arden shares 94 activities you can do to create these opportunities for you. They are meant to unlock the creativity inside of you that’s struggling to come out because of your own personal barriers.

She lists examples of hurdles you may encounter during your creative process, which artists of varying disciplines go through, so you don’t feel alone during this arduous time. It also includes cute illustrations! Click here for more info.

2. The Artists Way by Julia Cameron

I have heard nothing but great things about this book ever since I started my theatre training, and finally started reading it myself a few months ago. You may have already heard of this one, as it’s one of the most popular and sought-after creative guidebooks. The focus is to heal and inspire. It is a guide you can follow solo or with a group that takes 12 weeks to complete.

Julia Cameron provides readings and exercises to help remove mental blocks and allows space for you to dig deeper into your creative mind. I believe this book has given me more self confidence when it comes to diving into a new project. It inspired within me a self-healing process because of the exercises that focus on past struggles and trauma. It guides you on how to let that all go and to focus on the present. Click here for more info.

3. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

An artist in a creative rut sitting down on a couch reading a book that has been recommended in this article.
Photo by Seven Shooter

This book is essentially a more updated version of The Artists Way (1991). Elizabeth Gilbert addresses the creative and internal conflicts that artists face in our present day. She not only focuses on creativity, but also addresses the business side of things. This book is for those who are just starting their creative journey or are currently in the middle of it.

Gilbert acknowledges the challenges and successes you may experience with having a creative mind – this made me feel a little less alone within the overwhelming hustle and bustle of the arts industry. She also uses her own personal and very relatable experiences to address the myths of creativity we’ve been taught to accept. Click here for more info.

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