We are a reader-supported education publication. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission to help us keep providing content.
Whether the summer is your time to expand your mind with school projects and online classes or you’re working part-time and relaxing, you might feel the itch to give your brain a little bit of fuel here and there. But the beauty of summer is that you can pick your direction and feed your brain with whatever you choose! If you’re a creative, this is probably great news for you, as you can spend your summer getting inspired and creating to your heart’s content.
Whether you’re a writer, a visual artist, a musician or you dabble across mediums, there are so many ways to get inspired and take your creativity to the next level. While creating might be your main event, surround yourself with inspirational material and feeding that creative spirit should surround your creative practice this summer. And if you’re a reader, you’re in luck, because there are so many books out there that can help you on your journey. While some are geared specifically towards creative practice, others are simply inspiration — and you can gravitate to whatever suits you best. Here are some of the best summer reads for creatives to explore.
1. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
This might be one of the most popular books for creatives, writers and artists, and there’s a good reason for it. This book is filled with inspiration, exercises, techniques and wisdom that have helped so many creatives bring their projects to life. You may have heard of the technique of morning pages — journaling three full pages right in the morning — which originated from this book.
2. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
You may know Elizabeth Gilbert from her book Eat Pray Love, but Big Magic is her guide to inspiring you to live creatively and be brave with your artistry. In Big Magic, you can find empowerment to embrace your artistic self. And if you’re hungry for more after you put the book down, you can check out her companion podcast, Magic Lessons!
3. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
Another author you may recognize from her hit book, Wild, Cheryl Strayed is an inspirational woman with so much to say about life, love, and creativity. Tiny Beautiful Things is a book of letters taken from the Dear Sugar advice column about all different kinds of issues and topics in life, including creativity. And just like Big Magic, you can listen to the companion podcast called Dear Sugars if you’re in want of more.
4. For the Burnt Out Artist by Amie McNee
Amie McNee is a creative powerhouse with so much wisdom to share about the creative process. For the Burnt Out Artist is one of her three books about learning to create for yourself, little by little. As a fellow creative, she’s right there working through her process just like you, and she can inspire you through yours.
5. On Writing by Stephen King
If you’re a writer, this book is often considered required reading. Even if you aren’t a writer by trade, this book can teach you a lot about creating and communicating your story. Coming from one of the most iconic living writers, there will likely be some advice that sticks with you.
6. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
You may recognize Murakami from his many famous books over the years, including his smash hit Norwegan Wood. In addition to writing over fifteen books, Haruki Murakami is a marathon runner, and in his memoir, he discusses his life, creative process and his relationship with running. While this isn’t a book strictly about the creative process, it’s filled with practices and inspiration that can help you explore your creative energy.
7. Deep Work by Cal Newport
If you’re planning on using this summer to work on a specific creative project or an endeavor, Deep Work could be the perfect book to get you going. Deep Work and the techniques in it are all about helping you increase your output and productivity. While this book is a bit more about transforming that creative energy into action, it can still help you get in the mode and feel creative.
8. How Did You Get This Number by Sloane Crosley
Sloane Crosley is a prolific essayist who always has something witty and creative to say about life’s situations. In this collection, her essays take you all over the world through her many adventures and travels. While this isn’t a book about creativity specifically, it’s sure to inspire and ignite your imagination.
Books for Creatives
No matter what your creative practice is like or what you’re looking for this summer, there are so many books out there that can help you explore that side of your mind. Whether you’re interested in light inspiration or creative guidance, there’s no shortage of literature waiting for you.