It’s my sincere hope that once Christmas is over, you’ll have at least a few days—and maybe even a full week—to rest and find rejuvenation. This season is often particularly hard on church staff and church creatives because of the immense amount of time and effort often required for you to do your job.
When downtime comes, I like to have a few books at the ready. For me, reading is simultaneously energizing and relaxing. I can allow others’ thoughts to seep through my lowered defenses while considering what may lie ahead in the year to come. I can think about where I’ve been (and who I’ve been!) and where I’d like to find myself over the next few months.
These are my top suggestions for books on the creative life. Feel free to add more in the comments. I’m always looking to add to my library.
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
If you haven’t already read this book, you’re behind the creative curve.
From Amazon: “The War of Art identifies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success.Though it was written for writers, it has been embraced by business entrepreneurs, actors, dancers, painters, photographers, filmmakers, military service members and thousands of others around the world.”
Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull
For a taste, read this excellent excerpt: “Inside the Pixar Braintrust.”
From Amazon: “Creativity, Inc. is a book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation—into the meetings, postmortems, and “Braintrust” sessions where some of the most successful films in history are made.”
The Laws of Simplicity by John Maeda
A book that touches on nearly every aspect of what it means to be a church creative (minus the all-important spiritual aspect!)
In another great list, “15 Books for Creative Domination,” 99u describes Maeda’s book well: “Written with simple language and great wisdom, this compact book outlines 10 laws of simplicity for design, technology, business, and life. Ranging from basic to intermediate to deep simplicity, Maeda’s insights apply to everything from arranging your living room to designing a visionary product.”
Orbiting The Giant Hairball
by Gordon MacKenzie
Sometimes you even have to deal with hairballs in church work.
In “5 Brilliant Books for Creative Pros,” Todd Henry with Accidental Creative describes this uniquely titled book: “MacKenzie spent years as the creative guru at Hallmark. During his tenure he had to deal with the inevitable ‘hairball’ of bureaucracy and find ways of staying creatively fresh amidst the pressures and madness. This book offers some of his best thoughts and tips for dealing with the tension between organization and creativity, and he delivers it in a fresh and fun way.”
The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
One reviewer called it “practical, straightforward, accessible, and encouraging.”
From Amazon: “One of the world’s leading creative artists, choreographers, and creator of the smash-hit Broadway show, Movin’ Out, shares her secrets for developing and honing your creative talents—at once prescriptive and inspirational, a book to stand alongside The Artist’s Way and Bird by Bird.”
- Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
- Story by Robert McKee
- Ignore Everybody by Hugh MacLeod
- Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky
- Manage Your Day-to-Day by Jocelyn Glei
What would you add to this list?
Or, if you’ve read any of these, which have been most helpful to you as a creative?