Books for a Creative Life

wimd-34If you want to live a creative life, you’re going to need some help. Books are my first place to start. Here are some books I’m reading now that are a great help for your creativity.

Writing is My Drink by Theo Pauline Nestor. Simon and Schuster, 2013. Love this book that helps you discover who you are through writing. A good story by a woman who knew she was a writer, but just couldn’t write. Till she took some risks.  Each chapter has writing suggestions at the end.

Become a Life Change Artist by Fred Mandell, Ph.D. and Kathleen Jordan, bookPh.D. Penguin Group, 2010. These two Ph.D.s teach you seven creative skills to reinvent yourself at any stage in life. And they do it by breaking down how creative people do their work and then applying it to your life. The seven skills are:

  • Peparation
  • Seeing
  • Using Context
  • Embracing Uncertainty
  • Risk Taking
  • Collaboration
  • Discipline

Building Your Business the Right-Brain Way, by Jennifer Lee, New World Library, 2014.  OK, I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s on my desk. I love the idea that right-brain strengths can be applied to a traditionally left-brain activity–building a business.  Again, business is considered an art (good idea if you are an entrepreneur), and you need some of the same skills to be successful as left-brained people. You’ll learn about taking a stand and making an impact and attracting clients–the right ones.

The Right-Brain Business Plan by Jennifer Lee, New World Library, 2011. art-books-highlight-261x199This was Lee’s first book, and it shares a lot of design elements with the second book: tips, success stories, worksheets, and a friendly, approachable format.

I bought all these books in the paper-book format. I do love ebooks, but when I’m reading for research (and all of these books are for becoming a better coach), I like to take notes on paper. In this case, I’ve put those convenient #8 shipping tags in the books as bookmarks. I take notes on the tags, keep them together with colorful binder rings, and can flip through them to find the notes I need. And yes, I do color-code them.

Now, here’s a question for you: If you were to take a week-long creativity course, one that focuses on writing, but not on one style or genre of writing, what would you want included? List as many items as you want. Some ideas to get you started:

  • Comments can include topics you want covered (memoir, poetry, fiction, non-fiction)
  • How you want to spend the day (traditional teaching lessons, writing and reading your work, critique,)
  • How important it is to write in class and get personal feedback
  • How much you want to read your own work or hear the work of others
  • Special topics you want covered (why write a book? Collaborative writing)

And yeah, I’m creating a class. Might as well get feedback from the smartest people I know. My idea right now is that the class will have an online component and an in-person component. You can form community and start working on a project online, then meet for the in-person class. You can also experience each part separately. Don’t ask me how I will do this yet. I’m just thinking.

—Quinn McDonald is creating a new kind of class.




16 thoughts on “Books for a Creative Life

  1. For me, too much flexibility leads to procrastination, which leads to ice cream and Netflix and nothing getting done. I like deadlines, either in the form of sharing with the group (peer pressure can do wonders for your work ethic) or instructor. Specific topics may not draw a wide audience for your class, but I would think you would have better results (and you could change the topics, but keep the class format for future classes). I would find “developing your own inner creative voice” an interesting topic.

  2. I’d like a pool, or organized before breakfast walks or meditations before class – beacause the 2 or 3 day class I’ve taken often there is no time for such things included! Also: 1-3 times of one-on-one feedback from the teacher. 🙂

  3. I’d love to learn some ideas for getting started when you have a tiny idea. Maybe things like getting organised, working up an outline, motivation…basically help in translating the mess inside my mind onto the page. I also liked Wendy’s idea of a one word topic and reading all the different things that each person comes up with.
    As much as I’d love the in person class it’s a long way from Australia 🙂 But I’d definitely love to do an online class with you.

  4. Becoming a Life Change Artist has been reserved at the library! And even though I’ve ordered it, it may not be read as I could be too busy doingit!

    I love the idea of having a face to face group and then a follow up on line, then another face to face. I like to front up and see and touch and hear. But of course that’s not going to fly . . . unless I do of course!

    I’d like the opportunity to be part of a group that explores different takes on one-word topics, e.g. innocence, age, poverty. I’d be fascinated by where one word might take a person’s thoughts using which ever genre they chose . . . what a fascinating way to get to know people.

  5. I wouldn’t consider myself a writer; although keeping visual journals led me to writing down my everyday life and my thoughts. I find it helpful and would like to get better at it, but that’s not what the book “Writing is my drink” is about? Would you teach this kind of writing in your online class?
    P.S.:_ I put “Becoming a life change artist” on my wish list!

  6. In a writing class I would agree with jodylund that prompts and subjects for writing projects to be reviewed would be helpful. Also discussion of “writer’s block” and ways people overcome it – or any type of creativity block !! Finding time for regular writing/creative sessions.\

  7. I like the idea about using shipping tags to write your notes on. What a great solution for my new brain since chemo trashed the old one 🙂

    In a class I would like to have lots of challenges and prompts for practice writing and perhaps the opportunity for sharing what we have written if that feels comfortable. I do hope you will consider an e-class so that people from further away can participate.

    • My idea is to run an eclass and then have it connect to an in-person class. You could take either piece separately, but taking them both would be a great commitment to the whole of you–emotional, mental, physical and spiritual.

  8. I love the idea of using shipping tags to take notes on – brillant! I just used a groupon deal to begin a class on writting books for children, just for fun. I now have 3 great grandkids and have been making one of them tiny stuffed monsters and have thought how much fun it would be to illustrate and write a book to go along with them. Funny how opportunites show up!

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