Our Favorite Books on Cultivating a Healthy Relationship with Creativity

For every budding artist, there’s an established one who’s already walked a similar path. Some of them even wrote books about it. Reading their stories can offer new insight that helps make your journey easier. Here are five books to help you edge closer to your most self-realized and satisfying creative work.

Flow by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi

“Most enjoyable activities are not natural; they demand an effort that initially one is reluctant to make. But once the interaction starts to provide feedback to the person’s skills, it usually begins to be intrinsically rewarding.”

The phrase ‘flow state’ was coined by Hungarian-American Psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. He uses ‘flow’ to describe the state of becoming immersed in your work enough that it feels like time slows down. He describes it as “the secret to happiness.” To get into flow, the challenge-at-hand and skill level must be equal. His book Flow teaches you to maintain this state throughout your life, by balancing these two things. Challenging yourself enough that you’re stimulated, but not too much that you become frustrated with something beyond your skill level. This balance is good to keep in mind when engaging in creative work, because it can be used as a reference point to aim for, to keep your work rewarding.