Take Yourself to the Library

Take yourself to the library and check out anything that inspires you.

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This challenge is not always about making something. It is about feeling more inspired and creative in your life in general.

One way to do that is to seek out things that inspire you, whether that’s going somewhere pretty and reading a book, shopping at a store you’ve never been to before, or going to a museum or gallery.

Julia Cameron calls these solo inspirational excursions Artist Dates, and they’re an essential component of her method for creative recovery explored in The Artist’s Way and other books.

The Artist Date need not be overtly “artistic” — think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the
play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration.

I don’t guess going to the library is mischievous, but it’s a thing I rarely do by myself. Every now and then I like to go and explore and pick up anything I want. Take yourself to the library and check out anything that inspires you.

My Library Date

I went to the library this morning and didn’t take a single picture. Or a bag, for that matter, which meant I only got out with what I could carry.

Which meant I didn’t even make it out of new nonfiction. Oh well.

I got a dozen book, which is probably enough anyway. There are some sort of self-help type books and  a lot of books on different kinds of creative things that inspire me. library books on habitsHere’s the rundown:

  • Start Here Now: An Open-Hearted Guide to the Path and Practice of Meditation by Susan Piver (because Jackie and I are going to a retreat in the fall that includes zazen and I need to learn)
  • Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin (I finally read The Happiness Project last year and enjoyed it, so why not?)
  • The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing and Take Command of Your Life by Bertrand Roth (because this year I’m getting clear on my habits, I guess)
  • The Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything by Guy Kawasaki (and getting clear on starting new things?)art and craft booksAnd the more creative stuff:
  • The Art of Mistakes: Unexpected Painting Techniques & The Practice of Creative Thinking by Melanie Rothschild
  • The Sketchbook Project World Tour by Steven Peterman and Sara Elands Peterman (if you don’t know about this project, check it out, it’s amazing)
  • Beautiful Paper Cutting: 30 Creative Projects for Cards, Gifts, Decor and Jewelry
  • The Pencil Playbook: 44 Exercises for Mesmerizing, Marking, and Making Magical Art with Your Pencil by Ana Montiel
  • Color + Pattern: 50 Playful Exercises for Exploring Pattern Design by Khristian A. Howell
  • The Crafter’s Guide to Patterns: Create and Use Your Own Patterns for Gift Wrap, Stationery, Tiles, and More by Jessica Swift
  • Bound: Over 20 Artful Handmade Books by Erica Ekrem
  • Art: A Visual History by Robert Cumming

So much fun stuff. I’m sure some of these books will inspire future creative challenges and lots of making. I flipped through a few of them already and am itching to spend some time with them. library book inspiration

I mean, come on. A book made out a leaf? Stamping your own gift wrap? Cutting foxes out of paper? Drawing great textures with pencil? This is going to be fun.

I like, too, that a theme kind of emerged. There’s stuff about art, craft, creativity, playful exercises, but also making habits, starting new things, reminding yourself what you want the focus of your life to be and doing more of that.

I have a lot of reading (and making!) to do.

I hope you’ll take some time this week to take yourself to the library and pick out whatever books interest you at the time. Or go to your personal library and pull down some books you’ve been neglecting. Think about why those books are speaking to you right now, and read them. See what they have to say.

If you try this challenge I’d love to see your book stack! Tag me with #ourdailycraft.

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