The best books to inspire a creative life

Who am I?

Paulette Perhach is an author and writing coach with work in the New York Times, Elle, Vice, Marie Claire, Yoga Journal, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. Her book is Welcome to the Writer's Life, which was selected as one of Poets & Writers' Best Books for Writers. She helps other writers figure out how to make a life and identity out of being a writer while making the money work (as she figures it out for herself.) She continues to write about writing craft, business skills, personal finance, and joy on her website.


I wrote...

Welcome to the Writer's Life: How to Design Your Writing Craft, Writing Business, Writing Practice, and Reading Practice

By Paulette Perhach,

Book cover of Welcome to the Writer's Life: How to Design Your Writing Craft, Writing Business, Writing Practice, and Reading Practice

What is my book about?

With warmth and humor, Paulette Perhach welcomes you into the writer's life as someone who has once been on the outside looking in. Like a freshman orientation for writers, this book includes an in-depth exploration of all the elements of being a writer--from your writing practice to your reading practice, from your writing craft to the all-important and often-overlooked business of writing.

In Welcome to the Writer's Life, you will learn how to tap into the powers of crowdsourcing and social media to grow your writing career. Perhach also unpacks the latest research on success, gamification, and lifestyle design, demonstrating how you can use these findings to further improve your writing projects. Complete with exercises, tools, checklists, infographics, and behind-the-scenes tips from working writers of all types, this book offers everything you need to jump-start a successful writing life.

The books I picked & why

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The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

By Julia Cameron,

Book cover of The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

Why this book?

This book is the literary equivalent of being swaddled in a cloth and sung a lullaby that goes, “You’re a special artist. Everything is OK." Julia Cameron gives you a way to make a life as a writer, one that fulfills you and creates your best work. She’s like the high priestess of creativity.


The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

By Steven Pressfield,

Book cover of The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Why this book?

Learn to fight resistance and express your creativity. If you need help with self-discipline and creativity, this is the book for you. It’s a great one for people just starting out, who need to create better habits.


Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

By Carol S. Dweck,

Book cover of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Why this book?

You might think you have the right mindset to grow as an artist, but this book might just call you out, as it did to me. It will show you all the ways you’ve been holding yourself back without realizing it. It will help you understand hard work, and why it’s a part of everyone’s journey.


Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

By Ted Orland, David Bayles,

Book cover of Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

Why this book?

A guide to making art for those of use who are not geniuses. Don’t worry about making a masterpiece, just make your pieces of art. If you have a hard time letting yourself make bad art, so that you can one day make great art, this is the one to start with.


Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

By Anne Lamott,

Book cover of Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Why this book?

This gorgeous book on productivity and living as a writer encourages you to face the page and get work done. It distills the overwhelm “of being an artist” down to a daily rhythm of a writer’s life. It’s a deep breath in book form, a hand-hold on the page.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the creative process, creativity, and creative thinking?

5,888 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the creative process, creativity, and creative thinking.

The Creative Process Explore 24 books about the creative process
Creativity Explore 76 books about creativity
Creative Thinking Explore 11 books about creative thinking

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Shunned, The Way Of Transition, and Difficult Conversations if you like this list.