Top Books for Busy Authors
I don't know about you, but I get fed up with being told I MUST read to be a good author. There's nothing like telling me to do something to make be NOT want to do it. Plus, why take all the fun out of something you love doing?
So, yes, reading can certainly help your craft but don't turn it into a damned chore. Especially when authors are so pressed for time.
That said, here are some books I highly recommend to get your author brain working. These are all non-fiction and easy to read in little bites. My favourite time to read books like this is in the car while I'm waiting for the kids to come out of school. Some are to do with writing, some are to do with your brain, mindset and emotions, and if anyone needs to keep their minds in check, it's us authors!
Does anyone not have this book? I don't know but it's such an essential book that it had to be included. When you're desperate for some other way to show and not tell, this book is fantastic. I prefer it in Kindle because you can skip easily to the emotions you're looking for. If you're a new writer, this is a must own!
2. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck.
The original thinker behind what seems to be the latest buzz phrase 'Growth Mindset', Carol provides real-life examples of the differences between growth and fixed mindsets and the benefits of having a growth mindset. Very basically, people with fixed mindsets believe you have a set of skills and that's it. They take less risks and believe only in their natural abilities. People with a growth mindset want to learn, are willing to push themselves beyond their comfort zones, and believe you might not be good at something...yet.
If you're here and you're in the world of publishing, chances are you have a growth mindset. But this book is a great reminder to keep pushing yourself and, for me, it helped me learn how to cultivate a growth mindset in my children.
3. How to Stop Feeling Like Sh*t by Andrea Owen
This is mostly targeted a women but as I was reading it, I could picture plenty of men in my life who would benefit from this book. Some of it is obvious but as authors, the people pleasing aspect is something we're horribly inclined to do. We want readers, reviewers, fellow writers, book promoters etc to all love us. This is a no-nonsense kick in the butt that will help you in both your professional and personal life.
4. Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
If you read my post about author burnout, you'll know I'm a big proponent of slowing down. As a recovering 'goodthingsonlycometothosewhoworkharder' mindsetter, it's tough to give up the habit of working every hour and feeling guilty if you don't. But this confirmed what I do know--when I work less, I do more, and I'm more successful. The publishing industry has become incredibly intense in the past five years or so and it can be so easy to fall into the trap of simply trying to churn out more and more. If you haven't slowed down yet or are still fearful of trying to take a break, this book will teach you how and why you should and if you're there already, it's a fantastic reminder of why we're allowing ourselves time to rest.
5. Deep Work by Cal Newport
As an author, you're expected to wear so many hats. Writer, publisher, marketer, PA, graphic artist... On top of that, we have to stay connected all the time. We're meant to be on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Tik Tok (my kids WILL disown me if I ever set foot there and I'm glad because I do NOT need yet another platform)... But all this distraction creates a mind that cannot concentrate on the one thing we're meant to do...write.
Some of the examples are a little out there. Weeks in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do but write??? I wish! But this was one of my first 'self-help' style books I read during my writing career and it really did force me to slim down my commitments and use my time and brain much more wisely, helping me prioritize my commitments and become a much more focused writer.
I hope these books bring you as much insight as they did for me. Writing as a career is one of the loneliest jobs in the world, and as lucky as we are, our brains really do need looking after.
Samantha Holt is a USA Today Bestselling author of historical romance and runs Book Wizz with her handy team of helpers. If you want more help with your author life, she offers online sessions and coaching. You can find her on Facebook and her website.