I recently got this fancy new puzzle board and it is my new favourite thing: 

Sort your creative puzzle pieces and dig into the why of your work in my finding focus course

Like many, I find doing puzzles to be very soothing—your brain can kinda turn off, and just zone in on the task at hand. Funnily enough, they also make me philosophical—I find all sorts of analogies between puzzling and art/life. 

Doing a puzzle is really all about sorting—it’s about seeing the big picture before starting to zone in on the smaller picture. You start in an area that makes sense to you, and that feels doable, and then you work from there. When you feel stuck in one spot, you jump around to something else. And slowly, it all starts to come together. 

It also blows my mind that inevitably, as soon as I start looking for a specific piece, I find it pretty quickly. It's amazing what we can do when we know what we are looking for isn't it?

To me this is a pretty similar process to how we artists find our “voice” and own unique creative paths. Through this process of sorting and sifting, and jumping around, and looking at things from a different angle, we eventually find our way. Scroll to the bottom of this page to check out an impromptu IG Live I did on the subject. 

But like doing this puzzle, finding your creative voice can happen faster with a little help (I love my puzzle sorters!).* 

I’m currently on my annual re-read of Art & Fear by David Bayles & Ted Orland, and this quote really resonated with me: 

“What separates artists from ex-artists is that those who challenge their fears, continue; those who don’t, quit.” 

* Are you looking for some guidance on how to sort your own creative puzzle pieces and want to start digging into the “why” of your work? In my Finding Focus course, that’s just what I help you do.

Here’s a list of some of my favourite creative books: 

➡️ Art & Fear, by David Bayles & Ted Orland — a classic, and a super easy book to jump into when you need a little creative pep talk. 

➡️ Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert — I listened to this one in graduate school (the audio book is great as it is read by the author). I recently got a hard copy of this and I’m excited to revisit it. 

➡️ The Rise, by Dr. Sarah Lewis — a bit of a meatier read, but well worth the time. You can get a taste of it in this podcast interview she does with Brené Brown. 

➡️ The Creative Act: A Way of Being, by Rick Rubin — I’m just a few chapters in, but already there are so many great nuggets. Don’t be put off by its length—it is one of those books that you can pick up and just read a couple of chapters of then put it down for a while. 

➡️ The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron — a seminal book on creativity. I’ve not actually read the whole thing, but have dipped in and out of it over the years, and it always rewards. 

Are there any books you think I should add to the list? I'd love to hear from you! 

And here's that IG live I promised you: