12 Must-Read Books For Creatives & Free Spirits

Having a stocked library filled with well designed, thoughtful and inspiring books to reference from is a dream almost all creatives have. I know my eyeballs immediately change into the shape of hearts every time I see a stocked library shelf! Collecting a multitude of books, and I mean educated books with prompts and stories created to inspire its reader, is something I’ve slowly taken on as a bit of a pet-project.

12 Must-Read Books For Creatives & Free Spirits

Why should creative-types choose to buy books like these? It’s simple. For overcoming the roadblocks and pitfalls, for propelling your dreams into reality, for collecting inspiration, for gaining comfort (and confidence) in your work. By choosing to buy a truly great book filled with meaningful content, you are choosing to invest in your creativity and adventure seeking heart.

Interested in buying one for yourself (you go, you!) or have an artsy, free spirited friend you’d like to treat? Click the title and you’ll be directed right to Amazon to check them out. I know, I know, I’m so helpful! So without furthur ado… here’s a list 12 books I’ve curated for creatives and free spirits.

12 Must-Read Books For Creatives & Free Spirits
  • How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum by Keri Smith
    More like a guided journal, Keri Smith (who also created “Wreck This Journal”) encourages readers to discover, explore and observe their immediate surroundings as artists and scientists as if they’ve never seen it before.
    RECOMMENDED TO: Local Adventurers and adventure seeking creatives


  • Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon
    Fun fact: this book was formulated from Kleon’s collegiate speech of the ten things he wished he knew when he started out. He believes that nothing is new and that artists should start embracing that idea. The result is a fresh and uplifting, and the book has slowly become a classic among young creatives.
    RECOMMENDED TO: New college graduates or young artists


  • The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
    I’m just going to leave Twyla’s quote here and leave it at that. “All it takes to make creativity a part of your life is the willingness to make it a habit. It is the product of preparation and effort, and is within reach of everyone. Whether you are a painter, musician, businessperson, or simply an individual yearning to put your creativity to use.” YAS.
    RECOMMENDED TO: Everyone


  • Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity By Hugh MacLeod
    MacLeod, who started as a famous doodler and blogger, shares sharp and witty keys to creativity (thirty-nine to be exact). Ready to tap into your creative genius? Take a peek into this guy’s mind.
    RECOMMENDED TO: The thoughtful, philosophical creative


  • Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All by Tom Kelly and David Kelly
    This book is so beautifully designed, I could shout it from the mountaintops! Tom and David believe everyone has the ability to dig into our own inspiration potential and become creative in our problem solving skills in and out of work. If productivity and success are two of your intentions you’d like to tackle, this is your book!
    RECOMMENDED TO: Business oriented, goal setting artists


  • Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey
    Rituals are the name of the game for most creative types. In this book, Currey compiles 161 novelists, poets, painters, philosophers and scientists to share their daily patterns and strategies they use for overcoming set backs and streamlining their productivity. Everyone from Warhol to Darwin to Faulkner to Stravinsky share their weird, yet helpful, rituals.
    RECOMMENDED TO: Artists seeking ideas for overcoming burnout or boredom


12 Must-Read Books For Creatives & Free Spirits
  • Make It Mighty Ugly: Exercises & Advice For Getting Creative Even When It Ain’t Pretty by Kim Piper Werker
    The book urges readers to get creative and make it ugly… meaning to accept the failures and embrace your first few tries as the initial “ugly” steps toward success. It’s an encouraging book to flip through when getting down on yourself!
    RECOMMENDED TO: Everyone looking for a creative pick-me-up

  • On Writing Stephen King
    One of my favorite books on the subject of creative writing, Stephen King’s beloved book is part memoir and part methods on writing. I think I highlighted the crap out of the last half of the book, where King fills the pages with little steps towards mastering the craft.
    RECOMMENDED TO: Writers of all kinds

  • The Little Spark – 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity by Carrie Bloomston
    Ignite that inner creative spark inside us all through these exercises, activities, images and ideas. From this book you’ll learn how to capture your inspirational fire and prolong the flame. Best of all, it’s filled with month long road-maps for anyone looking for a program to follow.
    RECOMMENDED TO: Long-time artists looking for a course

  • The Pocket Scavenger by Keri Smith
    Who didn’t love a good scavenger hunt as a kid? In this prompted book, readers are forced out of their habitual perspectives and discover new connections while trying new things. Simply put, this book is for anyone looking for some Local Adventure and want to re-imagine their surroundings as a place of wonder. And who doesn’t want that?
    RECOMMENDED TO: Adventure seeking creatives

  • 334 Questions: The Creative Person’s Do It Yourself Guide to Insight, Survival and Artistic Fulfillment by Stefan G. Bucher
    If you’re a list type of person (I know I am), this is the book for you. The pages are filled to the brim with insightful questions to ask yourself in order to really get to the meat of your artistic needs and thoughts. If you take the time to answer even half of these questions, there’s no way you won’t feel inspired.
    RECOMMENDED TO: List-loving free spirits

  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White
    A classic. Buy this. I repeat. Buy this.
    RECOMMENDED TO: You. Yes, you.

When choosing these books I found myself gathering a TON of different avenues to follow. All the way from visually based, coffee table books to fictional stories. What do you reference from when you’re in need of inspiration?