By Peggy Thomas
Last week, I broke my ankle. Since then, I’ve had trouble focusing on my work. So, I’ve gone back to basics, rereading some of my favorite books about writing and the creative process.
My artist / illustrator brother, Paul Facklam, and I can talk for hours about why we do what we do, and love sharing titles and stories that remind us we are not the only ones who have writer’s block, or career doubts or fear of failure.
One of my favorite books is a slim paperback titled Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland. I’ll flip to any section, read a bit, and feel better instantly.
I also love Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. The author of Eat, Pray, Love, is not embarrassed in the least to share inner fears, and thoughts about creativity and where it comes from.
If you want a quick boost, listen or read Neil Gaiman’s commencement address to graduates of the University of the Arts. Make Good Art. It’s also a book. He also wrote Art Matters: Because Your Imagination Can Change the World.
There are also some great podcasts out there. Longform. talks to nonfiction writers like Gay Talese and Susan Orleans about how they write, and Working It Out features comedians. I love listening to artists who work in other fields because you realize that the creative process is the same no matter what the vehicle is. Comedian, Mike Birbiglia, started Working It Out because he missed getting together with other comedians during the pandemic. As the title claims they each bring an idea or a joke they are developing and work it out. Guess who one of his critique partners is? Ira Glass from radio's This American Life ! OMG!!!
I also regularly go back to Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, and all the many editions of William Zinsser’s On Writing Well.
What books inspire you or rekindle your creative process? Share in the comments below.
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