The Successful Author Mindset by Joanna Penn

GENRE: Non-Fiction | PAGES: —

My rating: ★★★★★

The Successful Author Mindset is as insightful as it is inspiring. It is so inspiring in fact, that it might actually be a hug disguised as a book. It’s also a treasure trove of quotes from other writers and professionals that’ll make you feel as though you’re doing something right if only because you resonate with the things they say. (There are days when this is all I can hang on to.)

“I’m afraid of failing at whatever story I’m writing—that it won’t come up for me, or that I won’t be able to finish it.” — Stephen King

More than that, though, The Successful Author Mindset is, as the title suggests, a book that maps out and offers guidance on some of the inner pitfalls of writer life—common writer problems such as the need for validation, creative block, and the infamous champion of them all: self-doubt. Along with well-selected quotes from other creatives, each topic is also accompanied by an excerpt from the author’s personal journals, documenting her thoughts, before moving on to an antidote that might help others to move past these problems.

Joanna Penn’s advice has always been my go-to in terms of the helpful writing and marketing tips she freely shares on her website The Creative Penn. But this book is not a book of tips. Instead, this is a (much-needed) look at the journey of a writer—and the inevitable trials along the way.

We have to learn to self-validate, to understand that the writing process is the point, rather than the reception of our work or the rewards that may or may not come. We need to nourish ourselves with the practice of creation. — Joanna Penn

I’d recommend this to any writer feeling the strain of self-doubt or the fear of failure. Some of us are lucky enough to be confident about ourselves and the work we create. For the rest of us, thankfully, there are books like this one.

 

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 The Successful Author Mindset

 

Being a writer is not just about typing. It’s also about surviving the roller-coaster of the creative journey. Self-doubt, fear of failure, the need for validation, perfectionism, writer’s block, comparisonitis, overwhelm, and much more. When you’re going through these things, it can feel like you’re alone. But actually, they are part of the creative process, and every author goes through them too. This book collects the mindset issues that writers experience, that I have been through myself over the last nine years, and that perhaps you will experience at different times on the creative journey. Each small chapter tackles a possible issue and then offers an antidote, so that you can dip in and out over time. It includes excerpts from my own personal journals as well as quotes from well-known writers. I hope it helps you on the road to becoming a successful author.

Depressive Illness: The Curse Of The Strong by Tim Cantopher

GENRE: Non-Fiction | PAGES: 128

My rating: ★★★★★

I read Depressive Illness: The Curse Of The Strong in bursts. Every time I picked it up, it presented me with a gift. I feel like I’ve done myself a huge favour simply for having read it. The author and doctor, Tim Cantopher, has a brilliant no-nonsense voice, and more to the point, that voice comes from a place of sound understanding.

Never before have I come across something, or someone for that matter, who could sum up this illness in a way that didn’t feel belittling or judgmental. It’s usually one or the other. To be perfectly honest, I’ve never made it past chapter two in any other self-help book for depression. I’ve found them either too patronising or lacking any kind of understanding.

This man, however, this author – I want to write him a damn thank-you letter or something! He really gets it. Really and truly.

“‘Oh, no! It’s Monday morning. I don’t want to get up. It’s too early, the week is too long, I’ve got too much work to do and I need a holiday. I feel so depressed!’

Every Monday morning starts this way and I refuse to rise until I am running late, but after a while I drag myself grumpily out of bed and start my week. I have never been good at Mondays and it takes a while for my mood to pick up through the day. It isn’t that I don’t like my job; I do, very much. It is just that I like rest and recreation even more and on a Monday morning, the next opportunity for these pleasures seems an awfully long way away.

Everyone has suffered spells of low mood of this type at some time or other and some people think that this means everyone has suffered from depression. It doesn’t, or at least, not clinical depression or depressive illness. The truth is that clinical depression is a horrible illness of which most of us, thank goodness, have not the faintest inkling. This is one of the many trials sufferers from the illness have to face: people looking at them knowingly and saying, ‘Oh, yes, I’ve often had that. I find the best thing is just to pull myself together and get busy.’

No, you haven’t, so stop making things worse with your ill-informed advice. If you really want to help, try to understand that sufferer of this illness is going through torment of a pretty awful kind.”

Anyone who has ever suffered from this illness will appreciate the approach of this book. It allows for reflection and it offers up more advice and support than I could ever have hoped for. If you find yourself faced with well-meaning but desperately clueless folk, or a therapist who pushes you too hard, too soon, or friends and family who want you to ‘pull yourself together’ – READ THIS.

Seriously. It will help.

 

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  Depressive Illness: The Curse Of The Strong

 

In contrast many books on depression, this text takes the view that those most susceptible to depression are people with strong personalities. Being naturally conscientious and reliable, they tend to carry on under great stress, where weaker people would simply give up. In the end the burden becomes too much and they succumb to depression rather like a rubber band which will snap if stretched too far. The work attempts to explain the cause of depression and how it can be treated – by looking after yourself, antidepressant treatments and talking therapies.

How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

GENRE: Humour, Non-fiction | PAGES: 312

My rating: ★★★★★

“So here is the quick way of working out if you’re a feminist. Put your hand in your pants.
a) Do you have a vagina? and
b) Do you want to be in charge of it?
If you said ‘yes’ to both, then congratulations!
You’re a feminist.”

Moran is witty and clever and candid. Easily one of my new favourite books, How To Be a Woman is a must-read!

Read it! Read it now! NOW!

 

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  How to Be a Woman

 

Though they have the vote and the Pill and haven’t been burned as witches since 1727, life isn’t exactly a stroll down the catwalk for modern women. They are beset by uncertainties and questions: Why are they supposed to get Brazilians? Why do bras hurt? Why the incessant talk about babies? And do men secretly hate them? Caitlin Moran interweaves provocative observations on women’s lives with laugh-out-loud funny scenes from her own, from adolescence to her development as a writer, wife, and mother.