This month my team at work had a ✨creative summit✨ where we set aside a day to ignore our daily tasks and instead focus on filling our cups. We gathered for a few hours of discussion about creativity and productivity and rest, then spent the day flexing our creative muscles however we wanted. Some visited bookstores to peep what’s trending right now, others dug into illustration guidebooks. It was wildly refreshing.
In a breakout room, I confessed that I never truly feel like a creative—especially in my day job, where I’m surrounded by incredible artists and illustrators and thinkers. Drawing isn’t my thing. Photoshop isn’t really my thing, either. I stick to the technical aspects of book design—margins, type size, readability—and have to stretch far to feel confident enough to even attempt something creative.
But I was told to shush. My home office is hot pink. The internet is my writing canvas. I paint my nails in a rainbow. I photograph every pretty flower I see on my walks. Those things count as creativity, too.
That afternoon, I bundled up all my art books and locked myself in my library for some uninterrupted reading time. Afterward, I felt like a fresh flower, pointing right at the sun.
Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
Y’all need to read this book. It is such a comfort, a quiet reminder that no one is truly original. Everyone takes inspiration from everyone else; we are all standing on the shoulders of giants. Steal Like an Artist changed my life when I first read it seven years ago and quit the job that sucked out my soul. Rereading it this month was a reminder of who I was then and how far I’ve come—with many thanks to the lessons in these lovely square pages.
The Book of Delights by Ross Gay
For one year, Ross Gay wrote an essay (almost) every day. He wrote about watching a praying mantis do a little jig on a bistro table, about lovely flowers on the sidewalk, about life as a Black man in America. The Book of Delights is a beautiful collection of vignettes on paying attention to the things we normally pass by without a second thought.
Live Life Colorfully by Jason Naylor
Jason Naylor is a rad street artist. Live Life Colorfully is a gorgeous and bright collection of 99 ways to add more color to your life every day—like colorizing your wardrobe or walking in a rainbow (turn right when you spot something red, turn left when you spot something orange, etc.). This book is so fun and I’m obsessed.
Do you have a favorite book about creativity? Please tell me all about it in the comments and how it opened up your world!
Will I ever stop thinking or talking about John Green and The Anthropocene Reviewed? Nope! Never! Here’s a list of 10 books that gave me the same vibe as this genre-defying book.
I’m in between books right now, but, inspired by this month’s theme, I’ve finally cracked open You Are an Artist by Sarah Urist Green. It’s a collection of art assignments to show you that you don’t need an art degree to be an artist. The first assignment is to grab a piece of paper and a crayon, set the paper on the ground, and color it to trace the surface. Hopefully the weather warms up enough for me to do this on my sidewalk soon.
🧠 In need of some extra goodness in your inbox? Check out Refind, where you’ll get curated links daily (or weekly, if you choose) to make you smarter.
In case you missed ’em, or want to peep the archives:
I hope you’re reading something this month that opens up your mind and your world.
Head’s up! I’m an affiliate with Bookshop.org and may earn a commission if you click through any book links and make a purchase.
☕️ Buy me a coffee and support my book-buying habit.