5 Self Help Books For The Creative Soul

Monday, January 25, 2016

Mondays are hard for me. They always have been. I wouldn't say I'm a pessimist about starting a new week, I'm just... I'm just never quite ready for it to start it feels like.

And somewhere along the way Sundays started getting a little hard too. They've become my favorite day to catch up on anxiety I've tucked away for the past 48 hours.

Sundays are even worse in the winter. I think it's because we're trapped at home so much when it's freezing outside so that gives me ample amount of time to make up fake problems in my head while I'm sitting on the couch pretending to watch football.

Making up fake problems is my favorite. The more dramatic the better!

So given my love for drowning myself in anxiety every Sunday night, it should come as no surprise to anyone that at the end of every weekend I also find myself reading a new self help book. Thus, I thought I'd share with you a few of my favorites. I'm usually reading five at any given time.

1. Last night it was Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.

She's the author of Eat, Pray, Love.Truthfully, I didn't care for that book or the movie. But don't let that deter you from Big Magic. If you're a creative person looking for a little boost of positive energy, I suggest you give this a whirl.

The thing I took away from last night's chapters is that I over think EVERYTHING. And lately I'm approaching things that supposedly bring me joy way too seriously. Which seems funny to me because I don't really take anything seriously? Except my creative work. I'm serious about that shit and it's kind of killing me. I want so badly to create good stuff that I'm not creating anything at all.

So Liz's advice is this, you can either approach life as a martyr or a trickster. Martyrs feel bad for themselves and can't accomplish anything because their life is oh so hard. Where trickers find a way to get what they want no matter what. If they can't go through they go under or over... Basically I need to stop being so dramatic and taking everything so seriously and think of life's little obstacles as games that I can either win or lose. And even if I lose I'll just go on to the next one.

2. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. 

The absolute boss of TV writing, Shonda Rhimes, explains how saying yes to everything that scared her for one year changed her life.

So just like when I started improv three years ago, I'm trying to Yes And everything. I'm saying yes to more projects that come my way that I would usually turn down because I'm lazy or fearful they'll fail so what's the point anyway... The point is it's not always about the outcome, but the process is sometimes just as important.

Also Shonda is a hard ass worker and makes no excuses for lazy people just wishing their life away staring at their vision board all day... cough cough me.

3. Art and Fear.

I'm only one page in, but I can't wait to get more into this one.

From what I've gathered this book is just about making whatever it is that pleases you and throwing fear to the curb. Shocker, right? The title is pretty self explanatory. But sometimes I get so inside my head I need a stranger reminding me that it's just ART. Put away expectations and limits and just create for the sole reason that it feels good.

4. The Surrender Experiment. 

This one is just a little bit more hippy dippy than the others. It's about letting go of our own agenda and trusting the Universe and its plan for us. (I told you it was hippy dippyish.) But damn it, I love these kind of books sometimes. Rather than fighting and resisting things you're not comfortable with, accept them and understand that perhaps they're in your life for a reason. Surrendering doesn't mean giving up.

I've always been a big fan of reading books about controlling your own destiny, but this book speaks about exactly the opposite. And I didn't hate it! It was refreshing to get a new outlook on how I think about most things (most specifically my future) and how forcing things to go exactly how I prefer they go isn't necessarily the best way.

"Are you ready, willing, and able to allow the universe to manifest in front of you without freaking out?" 

No, most times I'm not. But this books helps me pretend that maybe with some work I can get better.

5. The Alchemist.

I mention this one over and over because it's my favorite. Find your personal legend, everybody! What is it that makes you tick? If you don't know, go find it!

Two of my favorite quotes from this book are:

Now do you see why I love it? I'm sure Shonda Rhimes hates it. This book really enables that dreamer side of me. But whatever. Sometimes thinking happy warm thoughts about the Universe being on your side feels so nice!

And now it's time to put my money where my mouth is and get this week started. Today I'm going to beat Monday. Hope you do the same!

What are your favorite self help books? If you know of a good one, please tell me. I am always looking for more ways to improve my life.


  1. I've had Big Magic on my "To Read" list for ever!! I have to pick it up soon!

    Melanie | Blog: Toots + Dill

  2. I love the alchemist with a passion so i should absolutely look into these other you mentioned!

  3. These books look great!!
    I dread Monday's too but I'm trying to start viewing them as a fresh start.
    Sorta helpful? Lol

  4. Saying yes is something I have really tried to incorporate into my life over the last few years. It's amazing how small a concept can hugely impact your life and experiences!

  5. I love "Saying Yes," it's one of my favorite books that I have and always go back to. I can never get tired of reading it.

    I also keep giggling every time I see someone say how much they didn't care for the book or movie of "Eat Pray Love," because I really enjoyed both! lol

    I will definitley have to add these other books to my list. I love Self-help books!

    -Ashlee Michelle

  6. I'm working on "No Excuses - The Power of Self Discipline" by Brian Tracey. The title is self explanatory, somewhat, and a lot of it seems like common sense but I love his no-nonsense "no one is going to save you. No one cares about your success." Is it just me, or did the epiphany that no one is going to do it for me come a few years after college? Thanks for the recommendations! Fellow NE girl :)

  7. I've been meaning to read Big Magic but I haven't made time for it yet. I'll definitely get on it!

  8. I believe in working hard and putting my wishes out there to the universe. I guess I'm 50/50. ;)

    Her Heartland Soul

  9. I keep hearing great things about Big Magic! I thinks it's time to jump on the bandwagon (:

  10. I'm half way done with Big Magic and Year of Yes and am completely in love with both! I will definitely be checking out the others on your list. Thanks!

    Melody // www.marevoli.com

  11. Still have Eat, Pray, Love on my nightstand. Still haven't finished it. I'm not sure I could handle Shonda. She messes with my emotions too much throughout the week (I'm still traumatized over the loss of McDreamy). Lol. Joking. Great list! I'll have to check them out!

  12. I know your struggle all too well: I feel like it happens to all of us creative types, especially in the winter. I feel like I haven't taken pictures or felt inspiration in a while (also, we just got a huge snow storm so that sucks). As a recommendation, try "Wildflower" by Drew Barrymore. It's relatable, and I think you'll like the chapter about her and her first dogs.

    Leanne: www.waiticant.com

  13. I just finished The Alchemist and it's easily one of my Top 3 favorite books now. It blew me away. I believe its going to be one that I read and re-read over and over again. I'm going to check out The Surrender Experiment. That sounds like a winner.

  14. I ordered The Surrender Experiment this week, and I'm only on page 10ish. But I'm hyper aware of the voice in my head now. HAHAH. Trying to learn to let go of things I can't control and know that the universe will take care of it.

  15. A few compositions and works of writing have imitated the idea of self improvement previously. Actually, the stoic and the Islamic researchers prompted others in a way,how to boost your confidence

  16. New comment on an old post - and it's not spam I promise!! I need some new reading and am checking some of these out! What are you reading these days?