There are certain things I’ve read, watched, and listened to so far in my creative journey that I go back to time and time again.
They’ve been the words of wisdom, encouragement, and insight that have been exactly what I needed during a certain stage or season in my journey. I send these links and recommendations to friends and clients when I see them in these stages and seasons too, and today I want to share them with you in the hope that they may be exactly what you need right now.
1. If you’re looking for permission to blend more of you and your story into your brand
Watch this Circles talk by Megan Gilger on Being A Creative Is Not All Business. If you're feeling disconnected from how you're marketing yourself as a creative, and if you want it to feel more authentic to you, your vision, and your story, this is a must watch for you. I go back to this talk every time I need to remember that telling our story matters when we're showing up with our creative work online.
2. If you’re aching to move past fear
We all face fear in our creative journey, but if you're starting to feel like it's really holding you back from bringing your best work to life and living your most fulfilled and impactful creative life, watch this Circles talk from Kathleen Shannon on Fear Goes On The Shelf: What Creative Entrepreneurs Are Scared Of, And How To Put Fear "In It's Place. When I first leaped into the adventure of running my own business, I watched this talk over and over again to remind myself that feeling fear is normal and my only option is to move forward and through it instead of letting it paralyse me along the way.
3. If you need to reconnect to your creativity
If it’s started to become a little too much about your business and less about your creativity in your journey, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is a book well worth digging into. Reading this reminded me how much I love the creative process and really gave me the space to reconnect to my own - in both my business and outside of my business too. Big Magic reminded me that the work that pays my bills doesn’t have to be the only work I give my energy to - it reminded me that there’s some serious joy to be found in just making things without asking anything from them in return.
4. If you need to redefine success and reshape your life after burnout
Late last year I burnt out pretty badly - you can read more about that here. While taking time off over Christmas I read Thrive by Arianna Huffington and I’m so, so, glad that I did. Thrive explores "the third metric to redefining success and creating a happier life” and digs into everything from the importance of sleep, to the value of giving back, to how much our technology addiction is causing us to burn out and so much more. If you’re feeling burnt out, or if your initial definition of success isn’t feeling as good as you hoped it would, this is the book for you. But more than anything, if you’re aching to find a way to balance your ambition alongside your desire for joy, rest, and fulfilment, this is a must-read for you.
5. If you need permission to focus on only what matters most
If there’s one book I’m so, so, grateful I’ve read in this journey it’s Essentialism by Greg McKeown. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the things in your creative business, and if you’re aching to really have an impact with your work and your life but you feel stretched thin and unproductive, this is the book for you. This book taught me the importance of really honing in on what matters most, and being brave ignore to ignore the things that cannot serve us best. I know I’ll go back to this over and over again whenever I start to lose my way in this journey.
6. If you’re trying to figure out how to navigate this messy journey of living a creative life
Brené Brown kind of changed my life. I read Daring Greatly when I first started my business, and without it I don’t know whether I’d have been able to really move past fear and get started in the first place. I’ve recently read Rising Strong and really recommend that one too. Her episode on the Being Boss post on Vulnerability As A Creative is one I’ve sent to so many clients and friends to listen to - and I know I’ll be going back to it time and time again too. If you’re starting to find this journey messy, scary, and uncomfortable, this is a must-listen for you.
7. If you feel like you've lost yourself to your work
This TED Talk by Shonda Rhimes on My Year Of Saying Yes To Everything is a must-watch if you’ve lost your “flow” or your “hum” as she likes to call it with your work. If you haven’t already, I definitely recommend reading her book Year Of Yes too - I’ve already re-read it as it’s just that good. If you’re recovering from burnout, if you’ve found yourself addicted to your work, and if you’re aching for more joy in your journey, this TED Talk is the perfect insight into how to get back to a healthy and happy place with your work and your life.
8. If you’re fed up of feeling like your days are out of your control
Ever have those days where your morning and afternoon go completely wrong? You feel like the day is completely wasted and you just want to crawl into bed and call it a write off? This post by Alexandra Franzen on Today Is Not Over Yet is a must read for days just like those. I remind myself of this post over and over again whenever I have a bad start to my day - it reminds me that I have the ability to choose how I spend my days, even when so many things are out of my control.
9. If you need to remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can
So much of my creative journey so far has been haunted by my fear that I am lazy. Living with mental health illness means that sometimes my life has to be lived in response to my health - and sometimes that means I can’t always do everything with my work that I’m aching to do. Whenever I’ve had a bad patch, or when I need to take it easy so I can avoid things taking a turn for the worse, or when my self-care has needed to take priority over the business, I remind myself of this post from Esme Wang - You Are Not Lazy. Whether you live with something that needs you to take life a little slower sometimes, or even if you just find yourself worrying constantly that you’re lazy and not trying hard enough, this is the perfect read for you.
10. If you need to survive and thrive in a busy season
There are times in our creative life when we just can’t avoid embracing a busy season - lots of the time we may even choose to make space for a busier season, other times they may just creep up on us. The secret is to still enjoy our work, even when it may be super challenging and pushing our limits and asking more from us than it usually does. This post from Sarah Von Bargen on How To Enjoy Work (Even When You’re Busy + Kind Of Overwhelmed) is a really great read full of practical advice that really can work when you’re trying to survive and thrive in a busy season without completely burning out.
What about you?
What are things you've read, watched, and listened to over and over again in your creative journey?
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