Are you ready to be inspired? Do you run a business, or are you a creative looking to keep motivation flowing? There are definitely challenges to running your own business, selling your work, and keeping the faith when it comes to what you make. That’s why there are geniuses in this world who have written books to help, and I’ve made a list of my top five inspirational books that you should read right now.
The marvelous thing about most of the books I’m recommending is that they are written by people who have been there. You know, the there that is frustration and failure. The there that makes you want to quit. But they’ve come out the other side successful and satisfied in their work, knowing that the struggle is real but the pay-off is beautiful.
Ready? Good 🙂
1. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Steven Pressfield is an author. He originally wanted to be a screenwriter, I believe, and when he found road blocks there, he tried his hand at a all other forms of writing. He is now a successful fiction and non-fiction writer. And he writes screenplays. The overarching theme of his book, The War of Art, is dedication to the craft. He speaks on the discipline that gets your butt out of bed every morning and sitting at the desk (drawing board, easel, typewriter, cash register, market stand, etc.) every day and doing the work.
He notes that your work can be crappy, it can suck, and be seemingly unimportant in the grand scheme of your plans – but he is quick to note how very untrue that actually is. Every bit of work you put towards your goals is a nudge, skip, jump, or tumble, in the right direction. But you have to do the work.
2. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
I’ve mentioned this book before because it’s amazing. Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of Eat, Pray, Love which became an international hit. She wasn’t expecting this. She had written other books that had not done as well. She chalks fame and fortune up to something intangible and yet completely necessary to the life of every person trying to make something: Big Magic. For Gilbert, Big Magic is the thing inside you dying to bloom. It’s your ideas reaching for the sunshine and pushing through the dirt to the surface.
When Big Magic visits, you must respond, or it will find someone else. There are a ton of great tips and quotes in this book, as well as some great stories about Big Magic making itself known.
My favorite quote: “You must learn how to become a deeply disciplined half-ass.” Again, echoing Steven Pressfield’s advice to show up and do the work, no matter how insignificant the progress you make.
3. Quiet by Susan Cain
Less self-help, more highly researched, eye-opening, insight into humans and how they work. I’m an introvert through and through. Complete with social exhaustion, a general hatred of leaving home, and a great love for sitting and reading and spending an entire day not talking.
The problem is, when you’re an introvert in a world where noise and bold moves are valued beyond gold itself, you tend to feel less than adequate, and the pressure to succeed in the way the rest of the world is succeeding is overwhelming. But here’s the thing, Susan Cain knows better and has the science to prove it. Cain talks about people like Rosa Parks, Einstein, and more who didn’t have to make televised speeches to change the world, and she reassures every introvert that they can wield their talents – the ones that are most often absolute foundations of society – to navigate the work place, relationships, school, and beyond. And she tells extroverts how to handle the introverts in their life.
4. Sin and Syntax by Constance Hale
If you are a writer or editor, Sin and Syntax should be on your to-be-read list! Hale talks about all the rules and all the best and worst ways they’ve been broken over the years, from the Bible to Bob Dylan, to multiple politicians, a French mime, and a variety of poets. The references in this book are astounding (I even tried making a list) which makes it one of the best overall reads.
We’ve all spent twelve or more years learning the rules of the English language, now it’s time to confidently break those rules to create inspirational and magical prose.
5. Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight
I’m including this in the list, but must be honest, I’ve not yet read it. It’s on my to-be-read list (as is a slew of other books) but from what I can tell, Knight covers topics like negative thinking, brainstorming what you really want out of life, and more. Full description here. I’m very excited to read this though because I’ll take all the advice I can get on organizing my life and working towards my goals.