When you’re hitting a creative wall, it can be all-too tempting to chuck your laptop/notebook/easel/DJ booth out of the window and call it a day.
But there’s an easier (and less expensive) solution to circumnavigating a creative dead-end: seeking inspiration elsewhere. The internet is awash with content that’ll get your creative cogs whirring if you look hard enough – so to help you get started, here are 25 of the best podcasts, books, websites, newsletters and playlists to inspire your inner artiste.
See the official website for each podcast via the link in each title.
Are arty chats over coffee your jam? Then Creative Waffle is your perfect podcast. Listen to designers, artists, illustrators and creatives talk about their lives in the field, every Tuesday on the Blue Deer Design YouTube channel and iTunes.
TED Radio Hour discusses everything from the latest innovations to groundbreaking ways to think and create in chats that last for as little as ten minutes – ideal for your morning commute. Check them out on NPR One, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts or Spotify.
We love this one. The M&L podcast discusses “folklore that has shaped our world”, analysing how classic stories have survived and which popular patterns and tropes pervade them. Available every Wednesday on Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher.
Trying to make it big in the world of blogging? Then you need to listen to Blogtacular. Hosted by Kat Molesworth, it covers all things blogging, including the inspiration behind some of the internet’s most beloved blogs and what you can do to become Insta-famous. Ordinarily released about once a week on Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher.
Conquer your fears and take your inner creative bull by the horns with this rousing (and, we must say, beautifully designed) podcast, which covers everything from when to take a creative leap to how to battle imposter syndrome. There’s no mountain too high.
See each of the books listed below on Goodreads via the embedded link in each title.
6. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
Fear – there’s no place for you, here. Learn how to let go of self-imposed pressures, make time for your creativity and embrace the utter magicalness that is creative inspiration in Gilbert’s enchanting work: you won’t regret it.
7. Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey
This intriguing work covers the creative routines of the world’s most famous artists, from the fairly normal (Flaubert enjoyed a pipe and newspapers at 10am) to slightly odd (Beethoven measured out exactly 50 beans for a cup of coffee) and downright ridiculous (Schiller kept rotting apples in a drawer because he felt inspired by the smell). Will you take a leaf out of any of their books..?
8. Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace
Business owners and aspiring CEOs – this one’s for you. Written by the founder of Pixar, it focuses largely on how you can inject creativity into the workplace to reap results (and shares some fascinating facts about how Pixar operates, too).
Enough talking. It’s time to get practical. Glei’s pragmatic and useful guide for approaching creativity teaches you how to use your time wisely and “be creative amidst chaos” – shirking distractions and taking action so that your ideas can be made manifest. Includes insights from creative bigwigs such as Gretchen Rubin and Seth Godin.
10. Damn Good Advice (For People With Talent!) by George Lois
What do you get when a writer with over 50 years in the advertising industry pens a book on being successful? Some damn good advice, that’s what. Lois’ book will push you from being creatively cowardly to confident, and inspire you to make your artistic mark. Ready?
Listen to each of the playlists listed below via the embedded link in each title.
If upbeat pop jams are your go-to while you’re making stuff, look no further than this compilation by Spotify user Henry Espinoza. Featuring everyone from Capital Cities to Broods, this funky fresh playlist will keep you going for more than 10 hours (just don’t forget to eat and take regular toilet breaks).
Chillhop – otherwise known as lofi hip hop – is a type of rhythmic, engrossing music that provides perfect background beats for while you’re focusing on a task. Head to the Chillhop Music website to listen to the latest releases in the genre, or follow one of their specially-curated playlists on Spotify for a dose of creative mojo.
13. Ghibli Jazz
The soundtrack of some of your favourite movies performed by soulful jazz bands? Yes, please. This unique playlist will speak to the hearts of those who love the Ghibli franchise and/or mellow vibes while they work… which, we’d wager, is most of us.
14. Brain Food
Embrace the epicness that is electronica with this sweet mix of hypnotic jams… your right brain will feel truly nourished.
It’s been proven that ambient sounds (essentially, soft background noise) triggers creative thinking. Take advantage of this by listening to the murmuring sounds of rainfall, forest critters or even coffee shop chatter while you work, or combine your favourite sounds to craft your perfect creative environment.
Access each website listed below via the embedded link in each title.
16. Soul Pancake
Founded by The American Office’s beloved “Dwight Schrute” (or, in real life, Rainn Wilson), Soul Pancake creates and shares “smart, uplifting, meaningful, shareable content targeted to the Optimistic Millennial”. Browse through their library of happy short films for an improved perspective of the world.
17. It’s Nice That
Keep your finger on the pulse of the creative industry through It’s Nice That, which brings all the best in the biz to the fore. You’ll be amazed by the level of imagination you’ll find here.
If you’ve got some time to kill and fancy sticking your teeth into some long, juicy prose, this is the site to visit. Longreads has been publishing original content since 2009, and makes for some fascinating reading.
Teamwork is the name of the game at HITRECORD – Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s artsy brainchild that puts creatives in touch with each other. Collaborate on a huge array of projects spanning the music, theatre, film, art and writing industries and more.
Ever wanted to become good at something, but didn’t know where to start? Take two cents from MasterClass. This website can teach you how to excel at anything – from baking French pastries to playing electric guitar like a pro – with its compendium of short films from the top minds in a huge variety of fields. Give it a go.
Sign up to each newsletter listed below via the embedded link in each title.
21. The Latest Kate
Sometimes, all you need to be creative is a little pep talk. Artist Kate delivers gorgeous, motivational pictures to your inbox every morning to help you get out on the right side of the bed.
If you’ve never heard of Botnik Studios, you’re missing out (and need to sign up to their newsletter, stat). The machine entertainment company collaborates with writers, artists and developers to bring you hilarious content, including bizarre rewrites of Harry Potter and musical mash-ups combining the Beach Boys with speeches by Ronald Reagan. Sign up to their newsletter to receive the best of their work.
Learn how to do things from the people who have already done them via The Do Lectures’ weekly newsletter. It’s sure to motivate you.
24. The Lunch Read
Read the most interesting stuff on the web without lifting a finger by signing up to The Lunch Read, which compiles all the “most entertaining, essential and thought-provoking articles from the week” into a neat little newsletter, delivered every Wednesday. Bye bye, hump day slump. Hello, treasure trove of inspiring ideas.
CreativeMornings has made signing up to the most eclectic, creative newsletters out there easy, by compiling a whole bunch of them here. Read about some of the world’s most famous creatives, explore the world of design or even get Beyonce’s live performances sent straight to your inbox (if that’s what inspires you) every week.
Who or what inspires you creatively? (Aside from us, obviously.) Tell us in the comments below!