Dear friend,

One of my favorite things to do when I need some inspiration is go to the library. I did this the other day, in fact. My favorite is getting a book from the new books shelf. I got a book about the past 100 years of Disney’s character designs and how to draw them. Then I did a bit of sketching.

The library itself isn’t what’s inspiring to me. It’s the books. The library just has an inordinate amount of them for free.

Both novels and nonfiction are great ways to find inspiration.

Nonfiction is more direct in its teaching method. Fiction is a little more subtle. Nonfiction books are a great way to learn practical skills and history. Novels are great for learning concepts and inspiring creativity.

By reading (or listening to) books you get to experience things you would otherwise never get to experience. You get to travel to places and times you’ve never been. Some of those don’t even exist. Yet through books, you get to experience it.

Watching a character change in just a couple hundred pages can inspire change in ourselves. In one book I read, a character made herself forget certain things that happened to her because they made her afraid. It made me realize that I was doing the same thing.

If it’s been a while since you last read for fun, knowing where to start is intimidating. A study done over the past twenty-five years discovered that 10%-15% fewer kids read regularly for fun. I can only imagine the drop in adults reading for fun over the past couple of decades.

Photo by Element5 Digital

You just haven’t found the right book yet.

One place to start is by doing what I like to do. Go to the library’s new books section and borrow a book that looks interesting. Read through it and get another. Don’t feel pressure to finish it if it ends up not being enjoyable.

This article by Stephy at The Creative Muggle has some good recommendations on how to get comfortable with reading.

Experiment. Read book summaries and read stuff that sounds interesting to you. Just don’t get stuck in one genre.

If you liked daydreaming as a child, books by Diana Wynn Jones or The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis are great places to start.

If you like doing things with your hands, find a new craft book. There are tons of books on origami, sewing, painting, carpentry, and car repairs to get you started. Find something that you’ve never tried before and read about it.

If you are into history, classics or historical fiction like To Kill a Mocking Bird, Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier, and Facing Death by G. A. Henty are good places to start.

There are plenty of other lists of books I could recommend to you, but the best thing is for you to go out and explore the possibilities. It’s an adventure you can have in the safety of your home.

Sincerely,

R. J. Catlin