Find Your Creative Flow, A Chat With Barrett Brooks & Living For Monday, and My Favorite Fall Books

The Fall Mastermind program is underway. If you'd like to be considered for the January 2018 cycle, click here to apply.

Bicycles, Sidewalks, and Sepia--Philadelphia 2011.

A big welcome to all the new faces and readers who have found me through the Thought Catalog essays, Scoutie Girl, and my recent interview with Barrett Brooks on the Living for Monday Show! It’s been a busy week behind the scenes over here, and consequently there are a LOT of new faces to this website. Feel free to poke around, check out the best-of collection, send me a note, or sign up for the latest posts by email. Thanks for stopping by, and I look forward to welcoming you to the community!

Welcome Back to Fall.

Something about the upcoming change of seasons makes me want to curl up in an easy chair, sit under the window, pick up a good book and read for hours. The hint of long summer days drifting into Fall is starting to appear; my daylight hours wane sooner each evening, and the breeze that comes in through the window is better than any air-conditioning unit could ever dream of being. I want to turn on a warm light and curl up in my easy chair during the evening hours just to read and learn. Luckily there are stacks and stacks of delicious new books–and podcasts, and posts–about to hit the shelves, as well as a few that I’ve been wanting to read all summer. Here’s a round-up of my favorite books and the things I’m looking forward to reading, listening to, and a few of the places I’ve been writing and publishing as well.

Facing your fears, taking a leap, and seizing your potential:

What would your life look like if you looking forward to Monday, rather than dreading it? Last week, I got to be a guest on the Living For Monday show with Barrett Brooks, where we talked about taking a leap and facing your fears. The mission behind the show is to change the way the world thinks of work–and get people excited about Monday, instead of dreading it. In the episode, we talked about how to land projects as a freelancer or entrepreneur, what solo-preneurship looks like, and some of the pivotal moments that influenced my decisions to date. Here’s a quick excerpt:

“How do you get the kind of projects you want to work on? How do you make beautiful work in the world? — I think it’s all about showing up, and showing up “one sentence at a time.” Start small, don’t get overwhelmed, and make sure you do at least one sentence or one part of the project. Break each project down into a piece at a time–and do something small, and do it every day. Over time, this makes it possible for people to find you, and for you to improve the project, and to get where you’re trying to go. Something is better than nothing. Starting is incredibly important.”

We talk about the opportunities that come from blogging, about making online work, and about the projects we’re both ramping up this Fall–check out the rest of the interview here.

Ever feel stuck in your creative projects? Here are 17 tips for getting un-stuck and getting back into your writer’s flow.

While procrastination and distraction are two of the biggest weapons against making your art, the third hurdle to jump is often the problem of getting stuck. When you’re stuck, you can’t find the right words, time passes endlessly, and you wish fervently for that flow — that moment when words come quickly, your thoughts spill out, and you’re itching to write more. What do you do to get back in creative flow and get un-stuck? My latest essay is over on Scoutie Girl with 17 ways to get un-stuck and get back into your creative flow. Huge thanks to Tara Gentile and Carrie Keplinger for having me there!

The Fall Reading List: my favorite reads and can’t-wait-to-read-them books on my shelves this month:

Enough about me! I can’t wait to read the words of the following incredible authors. Here are some of the many books coming out this fall that I can’t wait to read (and that I may have already pre-ordered on Amazon). I’m a bit like a kid in a candy shop, except the candy shop is my front door and my drug of choice are new shiny books that come in padded yellow envelopes.


Money: A Love Story, by Kate Northrup. The relationship you have with money is easily one of the most important relationships you have–and it’s not one that you should neglect. Kate’s powerful writing (which is quickly becoming one of my favorite online resources) talks about the spirituality and philosophy behind money, and how money (and debt) make you feel. Can’t wait to dive into this one when it’s out in just a few days (September 10, 2013).


The Small Business Lifecycle: A Guide to Taking the Right Steps at the Right Time. By Charlie Gilkey. I just finished this book–and it’s short, sweet, and to-the-point. Simple writing is sometimes deceptive in how easy it is to read and understand. Charlie has distilled critical components of business life cycles and put them into four stages that correspond to Martha Beck’s teachings in Finding Your Own North Star. The book is brilliant; it couldn’t have come at a better time for me as I’m diving deeper into the world of small business and entrepreneurship.


Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself, by Lissa Rankin. Lissa’s powerful TEDx Talks and her message — that health care needs healing, and that you have more of the power to heal yourself than you think — has resonated widely across the world. This woman is an incredible asset to the medical (and healing) community and bridges Eastern and Western schools of thought by promoting a blended approach, rather than an either-or. Psychology, philosophy, medicine and health all rolled into one book.


The Desire Map, by Danielle LaPorte. “A multimedia guide to what you want the most.” I first read this book last Spring and put the book down, in tears, because I was overwhelmed with feelings and thoughts and ideas. It was a crucial moment for me, and I’m back into the book this Fall as a guidepost for understanding, mapping, and creating what I want in this journey. The book will be in it’s second release this December.


The Fear Project, by Jaimal Yogis. I keep holding each new book I read up to the standards of this book–easily one of the best books I’ve read all summer, if not of all time. Yogis is able to captivate audiences through lyrical, narrative non-fiction that’s persuasive and quick to read, while still filled with rich insights and concepts. The book looks at fear, our relationship to fear, and how to overcome fear to reach our full potential.


Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Everyday, by Todd Henry. Embrace the importance of now, and refuse to allow the lull of comfort, fear, familiarity, and ego to prevent you from taking action on your ambitions…The cost of inaction is vast. Don’t go to your grave with your best work inside of you. Choose to die empty.” Todd embraces and captures the mantras that are so essential to my life that this book is likely to become one of my new classics. I haven’t held the book yet (it’s out September 26), but I do have a story in one of the chapters and I cannot WAIT to read this book.


The Suitcase EntrepreneurCreate Freedom in Business and Adventure in Life, by Natalie Sisson. I met Natalie at the inaugural World Domination in 2011, where we shared laughs and teamed together in Pam Slim’s content-building workshop. I wowed her with my sketches; she wowed me with her ambitions and her travel-the-world lifestyle. In her recently released book, she maps the steps to creating a business you love while hitting the road–and gaining freedom along the way. I can’t wait to dive into it! It’s in my “read this next!” pile.


The Longest Way Home: One Man’s Quest for the Courage to Settle Down, by Andrew McCarthy. An absorbing, can’t-put-it-down narrative that reads like fiction as we follow the travels and adventures of a man who can’t stay in one place. From Baltimore to Vienna to Kilimanjaro, McCarthy, a National Geographic Travel writer, kept me captivated with his words and journeys–and made me consider the implications (and drawbacks) of full-time travel and its parallels (and conflicts) with home, life, and creating a family.  


When Thing Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, by Pema Chodron. A classic, and an incredible reminder that arrival and closure are the last things we’ll likely get in our lives. Now is the moment, here is the time, and what you’re going through is the perfect teacher. Zen, spiritual, and philosophical, she’s a beloved writer by Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. As Publisher’s Weekly writes, “Chodron’s book is filled with useful advice about how Buddhism helps readers to cope with the grim realities of modern life, including fear, despair, rage and the feeling that we are not in control of our lives.”


Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman. Kahneman’s book was the winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award in 2012–and this book is an exploration of how thoughts (and thinking) are influenced and how we think in two different ways (System 1 and System 2). Psychology, thinking, memory and thought are investigated in this behind-the-scenes look at what’s actually going on inside our heads. As the New York Times writes: “It is an astonishingly rich book: lucid, profound, full of intellectual surprises and self-help value. It is consistently entertaining and frequently touching.”


Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, by John J. Ratey. Movement is the number one thing we can do to reduce stress (and increase intelligence), yet we’re still unbelievably prone to sit still for hours on end and forget to use our human bodies. The science of exercise and the brain fascinates me, and in this book, Ratey details how breaking a sweat and elevating your heart rate helps lift your mood, fight memory loss, sharpen your intellect, and function better. Exercise isn’t an afterthought–it needs to be essential, and should be part of our processes of work, creation, learning, and life.


And so many more… The above is just a sampler of some of my favorites, and there are many, many more. I’m also looking forward to Scott Berkun’s forthcoming book, The Year Without Pants, and Pamela Slim’s book, Body of Work, both of which aren’t yet released (but I’m eyeing their websites to learn when the official release date is announced).

What are your favorite reads? What are you excited about getting into? Leave a note in the comments and I’ll add it to the list!

Love reading? Love writing? Join us in the Fall Writer’s Workshop, which starts in 10 days!

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The Fall Mastermind program is underway. If you'd like to be considered for the January 2018 cycle, click here to apply.

4 Responses to Find Your Creative Flow, A Chat With Barrett Brooks & Living For Monday, and My Favorite Fall Books

  1. Andi says:

    All of these books sound great!

  2. Cat says:

    I am about to head off on a grand adventure (31 days in India) and one of the books on my playlist is the Danielle La Porte Desire Map. I’ve had it a few months now and have been waiting for my trip to dive in. When I have time to reflect, to question and to challenge myself. I’ve also been reading ‘The Power of Story” and “The Meme Machine” (ok I’m a bit of a science geek!!)
    I like the look of the Medicine book, our bodies are designed to heal themselves, if we just got all our ‘baggage’ out of the way. I love Louise L. Hay’s book for the thought patterns that are causing dis-ease in my body. I will admit that sometimes I don’t want to hear it right then. When I finally let go and forgive myself and love myself just for being me, the dis-ease goes away.
    And in the short term – I will be reading Lonely Planet books on India (Rajasthan and Goa).
    Ciao
    Cat

    • Sarah says:

      Cat — I am SO EXCITED about your upcoming adventure!! Can’t wait to hear all about it. Have a marvelous time on the journeys, both in space and in your mind–through the words of the Desire Map and beyond. It sounds incredible.