It's Time to Break Out of That Creative Rut

Add these books to your reading list and you just might have the epiphany you've been waiting for.

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If You're Simply Feeling Stuck

What It Is: Written by advertising guru Paul Arden, this book is based in the business world, but is also helpful for creative types who need an extra push.

What You'll Gain: The confidence to go forward and "fail better" each time you try something new, as well as the knowledge that success is part talent, part ambition.

"It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be" by Paul Arden, $7,
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If You Want to Get Into Mediation

What It Is: David Lynch—the director behind Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, and Mulholland Drive—opens up about his creative process, which relies heavily on meditation.

What You'll Gain: You've undoubtedly heard the benefits of meditation extolled before, but now, you can actually visualize the relationship between meditation and creative output. You might just learn how to catch the big fish.

"Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity" by David Lynch, $9,
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If You Need Help Sticking With It

What It Is: Choreographer Twyla Tharp chronicles her own artistic process, and stresses her theory that creativity is a habit. In her book, she describes how to cultivate that habit and use it to create amazing work.

What You'll Gain: An increased sense of motivation and resilience about your creative work. Time to form some good habits!

"The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life" by Twyla Tharp, $12,
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If You're Edging Toward Your Big Idea

"Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All" by Tom and David Kelley, $22,

What It Is: Don't think you're creative? This book aims to prove otherwise, pointing out that each person is filled with potential just waiting to be untapped.

What You'll Gain: Even if you don't consider yourself an artist by trade, Creative Confidence will give you a newfound sense of agency about your ideas, as well as the confidence to bring those ideas to fruition.

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If You Need a Sometimes-Silly Challenge

What It Is: Writing prompts aren't just for elementary school. This book works as part diary, part at-home creative writing class.

What You'll Gain: An ability to think outside the box and try things you aren't exactly comfortable with. How often are you instructed to write an ode to an onion, after all?

642 Things to Write About, $14,
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If You're Just Getting Started

What It Is: Austin Kleon's book is divided into 10 essential truths about creativity, paired with motivational quotes, activities, and eye-catching graphics.

What You'll Gain: A foundation for approaching any artistic medium.

"Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative" by Austin Kleon, $7,
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If You Want to Amp Up Your Everyday Routine

What It Is: The author of Eat, Pray, Love unravels her own philosophy of living without fear—a life path that embraces both failure and the unexpected.

What You'll Gain: The courage to put yourself out there in every way and, maybe, while you're at it, the courage to cultivate some big ideas.

"Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear" by Elizabeth Gilbert, $14,
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If You Need Help Getting the Words Out

What It Is: A workbook that asks the tough questions fiction authors are required to answer. Ready, Set, Novel! is full of challenges for developing multifaceted characters, creating complex yet understandable plots, and thinking of a story all the way through.

What You'll Gain: A sense of structure and organization that will help you fully flesh out that novel idea that's been simmering all this time.

"Ready, Set, Novel!: A Workbook" by Lindsey Grant, $12,
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If You Want to Consider a Different Worldview

What It Is: A nonfiction book that takes a look at some of the most widely held theories today (like, say, gravity) and posits a harrowing question: What if we're wrong?

What You'll Gain: The ability to accept alternative realities for information you see as fact. 

"But What if We're Wrong?: Thinking About the Present as if It Were the Past" by Chuck Klosterman, $13,
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If You Just Want to Express Yourself Somehow

What It Is: A guided 365-day diary-meets-journal-meets-workbook that allows you to consider your feelings each and every day.

What You'll Gain: A simple way to log your emotions, thoughts, and ideas in a fun and easy-to-follow format.

"1 Page at a Time: A Daily Creative Companion" by Adam J. Kurtz, $10,
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