Let the Ideas Flow: Top 5 Books for Creatives

 In General


Whether you’re heading to the beach or to Barcelona, books are a requisite for creative freelancers. Here’s a shortlist of titles that reveal the inner workings of imagination, shed light on best business practices, or serve up large doses of inspiration – perfect accompaniments to your carry-on bag.


Inspired to Create

Where does one find the inspiration to create? Sometimes, it helps to read about how others do it. Twyla Tharp is a world-famous dancer and choreographer. A key to her success is keeping a routine and habit, which she explores in The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use if for Life.


Applying knowledge and examples from her long career, she offers 32 exercises that energize one to create. “The routine is as much part of the creative process as the lightning bolt of inspiration, maybe more. And this routine is available to everyone,” she says.


The Creative Mind, Explained

It’s true: creative people are different – in 18 different ways, according to Wired to Create: Unravelling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind. Do you daydream, observe everything, people watch, or lose track of time? Creative scholar Scott Barry Kaufman and writer Carolyn Gregoire explore the psychology and science behind creativity.


Juxtaposing attributes such as mindfulness and daydreaming, solitude and collaboration, seriousness and play, they explain how understanding these contradictory qualities can lead to deeper creativity.


Left Brain, Right Brain

A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel H. Pink suggests that the Information Age has taken away abilities that once were fundamental to the human condition. These abilities, described as the six senses — design, story, symphony, empathy, play, and meaning — are essential to achieving professional success and personal satisfaction in today’s Conceptual Age.


According to the introduction, the book is “…for anyone who wants to survive and thrive in this emerging world.” Pink is a bestselling author of books on business, work and behavior. He was named one of 15 most influential business thinkers in the world by Thinkers50.


The Art of Running a Creative Business

Cash flow is as important as creative flow in maintaining a freelance business. Whether you’re new to freelancing or a seasoned pro, The Business Side of Creativity: The Comprehensive Guide to Starting and Running a Small Graphic Design or Communications Business is a go-to reference guide with practical tips and information on topics ranging from launching a business to planning for retirement. It even includes sample business forms and documents.


Authored by Cameron S. Foote, entrepreneur and editor of the Creative Business newsletter, the book targets freelance graphic designers, illustrators and copywriters. Now in its fourth edition, the book is considered a creative business bible by reviewers.


From Chaos, Order

Ideas may come quickly to creative types, but taking ideas from conception to completion is more difficult. In Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality, author Scott Belsky argues that we should focus more on developing the capacity to make ideas happen—a quality that endures over time.


The book offers a systematic approach to creative organization and productivity. Belsky co-created online portfolio platform Behance, which was acquired by Adobe in 2012.


Decisions, Decisions

Summer provides a great chance to escape, and what better way than with a book? Immerse yourself in the joys of freelancing and the creative life, one book at a time.


Authored by Cheryl Syrett

Cheryl Syrett is a marketing writer and editor and former Freelance Forum board member. You may reach her at cherylosyrett@gmail.com.


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