20 Creativity Books of 2016

I write about creativity to inspire and motivate you to be true to the creative force that you are.

20 Creativity Books of 2016


If you’re anything like me, your idea of a good time is snuggling up with a good book, especially as an escape from the inevitable holiday hoopla. I always make sure to ask for a book or gift myself one so that I can have something to steal away with for a creatively quiet moment.

With that in mind, my wee gift to you this holiday season is a list of creativity books that have educated, entertained or wholeheartedly engrossed me in 2016.

I don’t expect that all of them will resonate with you. Chances are you’re not researching a book or keeping up with current thinking in your genre as writers are supposed to do. (Although I’d read these books if neither applied to me right now.) But I do hope you find one that clicks, one that inspires you to take action on your style of creativity.

Warning: there’s not a novel among them. I tend to steer clear of those because once I start reading I can’t put them down. So when it comes to escaping, I prefer time in my studio.


In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs – Interview based book of over 100 women of rising or high achievement in their creative businesses. Inspiring insight, beautiful photography! Coffee table worthy.

The Magnolia Story – Yep, the couple that brings us Fixer Upper on HGTV. I love the back-stories of people who create success doing what they love. I think of Chip and Joanna as “home artists”.

Wabi Sabi Painting with Cold Wax: Adding Body, Texture and Transparency to Your Art – in preparation for author Serena Barton’s Red Thread Retreat workshop in November 2017 (see below).

Creative Strength Training: Prompts, Exercises and Personal Stories for Encouraging Artistic Genius – Jane Dunnewold has created a rich handbook for developing and deepening your creative practice and relationship to your work. Art quilt based but the exercises and info cross mediums and genres.

Upstream: Selected Essays – I’m obsessed with Mary Oliver. Her essays give us so much insights into her poetry,

Minding the Muse – a practical handbook for painters, composers, writers and other creators.

Silence: The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise – by Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh on how to silence the mind, body and spirit.

Productivity for Creative People: How to Get Creative Work Done in an “Always on” World – One of my mentors, poet and creativity coach, Mark McGuinness, taking a deep dive on a topic near and dear to my heart.  

Start Right Where You Are: How Little Changes Can Make a Big Difference for Overwhelmed Procrastinators, Frustrated Overachievers, and Recovering Perfectionists – Samantha Bennett’s valuable take on taking action on your dreams with great exercises and pep talks (hmm, she sounds a lot like me!) (Author video)

Make Peace with Your Mind: How Mindfulness and Compassion Can Free You from Your Inner Critic – I’ll read (and have read) just about anything on overcoming the inner critic. Some wonderful practical practices here. (Author video)

Fire and Stone: Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? – powerful essays on big questions.

If Women Rose Rooted: A Journey to Authenticity and Belonging – I admit, the title drew me in. I love the authors exploration of the connection between women and nature. Maybe it’s also because it’s based on my ancestral homeland.

Draw Every Day, Draw Every Way (Guided Sketchbook): Sketch, Paint, and Doodle Through One Creative Year – if only I did draw everyday! This book is a gem. And who knows, maybe one day I have a daily drawing practice in addition to my daily writing and mixed media practice.

Patterns 2016 – The catalog from the annual Dinner at Eight art quilt exhibit organized by Jamie Fingal and Leslie Jenison.

Acrylic Expressions: Painting Authentic Themes and Creating Your Visual Vocabulary – several new ideas and techniques in this book that I found inspiring.

A Permeable Life: Poems & Essays – You must read her poem The Dare, and Showing Up, and Why We are Here, and … and … and ….

Poems from the Pond – 107 Years of Words and Wisdom from Peggy Freydberg. She died at age 107 weeks before this book was published. Something every wisdom-seeker will enjoy.

How to Live a Good Life: Soulful Stories, Surprising Science, and Practical Wisdom – it’s all about filling your buckets now vs having a bucket list.
The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith – I’ve known that the universe has my back now for some time so I love to read how others come to that awareness.

Unearthing Your Passion & Purpose To Find Explosive Happiness (Make It Your Bitch: The Ultimate Guide To Owning Life) (Volume 1) – Tracy Porter’s, sometimes irreverent but always a spot-on, take on creative living.

Bonus: My Three Favorite Magazines – all ad-free!

Taproot Magazine – the magazine for makers, doers and dreams (that’s you, right?)
Womankind magazine – treat yourself to this quarterly work of art, writing and creativity
Flow Magazine Issue 14 (2016) – as the masthead says, Celebrating creativity, Imperfection and Life’s Little Pleasures. Neatherlands based but available in several languages worldwide.


  1. Thanks for the great list of books and magazines. I put a few on my Amazon Wish List. You might want to take a look at Bella Grace a magazine from Stampington and Company. It’s a great inspiring magazine that even feels great to the touch!! Can be found at Barnes and Noble and other independent creative shops. I don’t work for them, I just love the magazine!!


  2. Jacque Chinnery says:

    Thank you for sharing this list. I am always looking for good books on art or creativity. I have a large library because these are the books I can’t part with. Novels get passed on to friends or our local women’s shelter. I will also look for the magazines you suggested. I am only familiar with Flow so I am anxious to see the other two!