Stories & Articles

Two books to inspire writers

Vanessa de Largie | Topic Media | April 8, 2012

Writers often hit a wall and require emergency inspiration. Often some time away from the page is an easy fix, to focus our attention on other things, instead of sitting in front of the computer in frustration looking for the right word.

I have experienced long spells of feeling stuck, of feeling creatively uninspired and it is at those times, I’ve turned to books to help in my creative recovery.

If you are anything like me, you find yourself going insane when you are not being creative. I need to do something creative every single day, whether its writing, acting, playing my keyboard, making a collage, drawing – I have to be doing something, to quieten the beast within.

If I ignore the beast, I suffer severe depression, which can be crippling, not only to me but the people who love me.

I see my creativity not only as my work but also my therapy, it keeps me sane, it makes me a better person. Like physical exercise, once it’s done, I can relax. I am available and present for the rest of my life. If I ignore it or try to shut it down, everyone suffers, most of all – me.

I admittedly am a little obsessive. I am currently meant to be having a rest from everything, stepping back from it all, yet here I am – writing.

Writing is how I metabolise life, it’s my way of working through my flaws and issues.

Below are 2 books that have saved me. I own them and return to them repeatedly year in, year out. I hope they do the same for you. Happy writing!

The Right To Write

This book is always within hands reach, whether I’m travelling or at home, its always around. Sometimes I just open it up to read a certain chapter, often I sit in the bath or at my desk, rereading the book for the umpteenth time.

Julia Cameron is responsible for teaching people, the world over, how to nourish and encourage their inner artist. I am a fan of all her books (The Artists Way, Walking In This World, Vein of Gold) but this one is a standout for me. Julia Cameron has lived an incredibly rich life herself, the ex wife of Scorcese, and a successful novelist, poet, songwriter, lecturer and screenwriter in her own right. I cannot recommend her enough.

Her writings are a gift, she takes you back to childhood, when we were all artists, when none of us needed a stamp of approval from society and created purely out of love and instinct. Treat yourself and get hold of this book.

The Van Gogh Blues – The Creative Person’s Path through Depression

I have successfully used my depression creatively, actually sometimes I feel it is the spark that lights the flame.

But in saying that, I know only too well, the ‘meaning’ we try to attach to our art. Is it good enough? Why didn’t I win the competition? Mine is better than theirs! What’s the fricken point, I’m not getting anywhere! Will I ever make it?

But really, all those questions are our ego. The success is in the doing. Success is doing what you love. Maisel explores creativity and depression in an insightful way. This book has its place and is a good read, if you are open to it.