There’s something about the month of December that both drives me crazy and makes me feel more balanced. Amid weaving in and out of traffic with the skills of a Formula One driver, or spending hours glued to a computer screen in search of that one perfect gift, there’s also a sense of things slowing down and falling into place. Time spent with family and friends can put things into perspective the way nothing else can.
This week I’m on a pre-holiday vacation in Lake Placid, a quaint, picturesque town in the Adirondack Mountains that was once home to the Olympic Games. It might be the below freezing temperatures or the snow falling outside my window, but there’s something about being here that makes me want to curl up with a blanket, a cup of hot coffee and a good book.
Need some book recommendations for the new year? Below is my 2022 list of favorite reads for creatives. Full disclosure – I didn’t read all these books in 2022, but they continue to be highly coveted resources for me as I continue my journey as a writer. I hope they inspire you too.
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
This book made me a writer. It remains one of the most inspiring and influential books in my repertoire for beginning and maintaining a creative process. Even if you’re not a writer, Morning Pages will change your life.
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
Inspiring and entertaining, On Writing offers creative advice by one of the best. I love memoirs, but this one also made me feel like I was sitting in a writing class taught by King, himself.
Deep Work by Cal Newport
In a world with an overwhelming number of distractions, Deep Work offers tips on how to eliminate the noise and focus on creating your best work. It’s a super interesting, in-depth view of the habits needed to produce more in less time.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Also the author of Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert shares her unique perspective and insights on inspiration, and the importance of letting go of fear to empower your creative spirit.
Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
I read this for the first time just a couple months ago and wish I’d picked it up sooner. Goldberg has been writing and teaching for years, but what I like about this book is how she combines thoughts on meditation with maintaining a writing practice. I also love how the book is a series of mini self-contained essays so you can pick it up and read any chapter when you need a lift.
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown
I wrote an entire post on perfectionism this fall after I read this book by author and shame researcher, Brené Brown. Her ten guideposts for living a more wholehearted life urge you to strip away the unrealistic expectations that lead to self-sabotage.
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
The fact that this book falls seventh on this list doesn’t mean it’s any less valuable. This one is a must-read for any creative who struggles with fear and resistance in their daily practice. I picked it up at a bookstore while on a business trip and spent the flight home completely engrossed. If it hits too close to home, you’ve picked up the right book.
Structuring Your Novel by K.M. Weiland
Yes, this is a book for writers, but I think the lessons Weiland teaches about story structure could appeal to creatives of all platforms. We all use art to tell a story, so the mechanics are important.
The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
I find myself coming back to this book repeatedly whenever I need to better understand myself, my fears, and my motivations. This is a deep dive into identifying and breaking through the barriers that hold us back from becoming our best selves.
This Working Life by Lisa Leong and Monique Ross
With a nod to balancing life and work in a post-pandemic world, this book details how to successfully navigate a career with courage, passion, and compassion. Leong and Ross will empower you to craft the life you want to live, using your core values as guides.
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