5 Reasons Why You Should Start a Reading Group

Me reading the Artist's Way alone. (Read alone, then discuss together!)

I think it’s time to tell you…I have a milestone birthday coming up in exactly two months.

And like any true blue ENFP I have been thinking about the implications of it since my last birthday.

One of the ways I wanted to head into my 30th year was to add more creativity and intention to my life. So I embarked on a journey of 30 Creative Pursuits for My 30th Year.

The whole thing is well under way as I’ve only got two months left, but today I wanted to share with you what has been one of the most meaningful and impactful items on the list.

#27 Start some sort of writing, creativity, thinkers or reading club (meet at least once)

hey, don’t judge my ‘meet at least once’ goal—I was trying to make it attainable :-)

Last fall I started a book group and together we read through Julia Cameron’s book, the Artist’s WayNow this particular group happened to be centered on reading a book together, but I think groups that are meant to simply share what your current challenges are in your work or get feedback on your writing or to pursue various creative pursuits together are all highly valuable. I would like one of each please! 

For our group, the book choice was great because the chapters were short, it was very action-oriented and it was already organized into a 12-week study.

But more than the choice of book, the choice to pursue reading a book with some women who challenge me was even greater.

5 reasons I encourage you to make your own writing/creativity/thinkers/reading group

1. Connecting with like-minded people. Putting an intentional group together to discuss a book or another given topic is a refreshing experience. In the case of my book group, while I didn’t run into all the people in my group in my regular circles, I knew there was a kindredness of spirit there. It was really rewarding to spend time around a table discussing something we jointly cared about and were interested in.

2. Accountability. Knowing that I would be seeing my book group again in two weeks made me stay on schedule with my reading. When I’m reading a book on my own it feels pretty “optional” but knowing that my group would be gathering soon to discuss this week’s reading served as great accountability to get it done.

3. Your thinking is challenged. While my group was filled with like-minded people it was also filled with opinions, perspectives and backgrounds that differed greatly from my own. It was a wonderful reminder that two people can read the same text and feel completely differently about it. A meeting of the minds is challenging and gets you thinking more critically.

4. Intentional conversation. When meeting up with friends it’s so easy to let conversation focus on the latest headlines of our lives and not go to a deeper place. With the right book or subject matter to discuss, conversations go deeper and you actually might get to know your friends on a deeper level than you would have without it. 

5. Reading is richer when it’s a shared experience. My experience working my way through the Artist’s Way was so much better because I got to not only interact with the book by doing exercises and writing a ton, but also because I got to discuss it with my fellow readers. We talked about what resonated with us in the book and our reactions to the reading. It really created a bond and made me closer to the people in my group.

Maybe it’s because I work from home (alone) most of the day or maybe it’s because I’m an extrovert but this reading group really enhanced the quality of my life. I’m already mulling on my next book group.

Do you have a book/great minds/writing/thinkers group? I want to hear ALL about it.

Gift Guide for the Entrepreneur: 10 things for that person who you fully expect to take over the world one day

Gift Guide for the Entrepreneur
Gift Guide for the Entrepreneur

If you have a hustling, creative, self-starter in your life, my guess is that they would go nuts for any of the following items on this list. Happy Holidays!

1. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. Full disclosure: one of my latest podcast obsessions is #AskGaryVee. The main thesis of JJJRH is that though communication is still key, context matters more than ever. It’s not just about developing great content, it's about developing high-quality content that's perfectly created to blend in on specific social media platforms and mobile devices. Anybody who has something to promote online should read this book.

2. Subscription to Audible.com. We're all busy here. Why not get a subscription for that busy person in your life and let them read while they exercise or drive? The Audible subscription includes one audiobook per month. Perfect!

3. Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. This New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestseller was written by one of my favorite bloggers and podcast hosts, Michael Hyatt. Recently, Forbes magazine named him one of the “Top 10 Online Marketing Experts To Follow In 2014.” In this book Michael unpacks how to let the world know about your incredible message by building a platform that gets you noticed.

4. Premium Skillshare subscriptionSkillshare is an online community where you can take classes from some of the country's leading experts. Topics range from building a logo to starting a business. It is one inspiring place. Plus, Seth Godin even  lectures here.

5. Fast Company. This magazine has gotten my wheels turning about trends in technology and business many a time. Fast Company inspires a new breed of innovative and creative thought leaders who are actively inventing the future of business. When I look through the pages of Fast Company I see role model after role model. This magazine will inspire and challenge your entrepreneur.

6. A photography session. Every aspiring entrepreneur, thought leader or creative needs professional images on his or her website and social profiles. In today's image-focused social landscape, pictures are everything. To say they will enhance your online presence is a gross understatement. (Photographers I've worked with and love: Foster & Asher, Adam Barnes Fine Art Photography, Billy B Photography, Deb Knoske, Ty Hester)

7. The 4-Hour WorkweekThis book has had maybe more of an influence on the way I work than any other book I've read in the last five years. In its pitch the 4-Hour Workweek says Tim Ferris will "teach you how to escape the 9-5, live anywhere, and join the new rich." Well, I can't say I've quite joined the new rich yet, but Ferris' book is chock full of helpful ideas to help you do more of what matters and less of what gleans you a less valuable pay off. This is a GREAT book.

8. BluehostSo web hosting is not a sexy gift, you say? It IS! I say. Your creative knows he/she needs a self-hosted site to really run with the big dogs and show the world he/she is serious about his/her endeavor. (This very blog is moving to a self-hosted site in January.) Sometimes its hard to make that initial investment. Give them the gift of Bluehost and do it for them.

9. Success MagazineThis subscription was actually not one I sought out for myself; my dad got me a 2-year subscription last Christmas. Oh how I love it. I appreciate that the stories are not dumbed down for the multi-tasking millennial generation. They are long and in-depth. In addition--my favorite part of the magazine--it comes with an audio CD with in-depth interviews based on the focus of the magazine that month. Just last night I was listening to an interview about significance. It has challenged and inspired me on my drives more than once. Well worth it. 

10. Creativity, Inc.  By Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar, Creativity, Inc. was named one of the best books of 2014 by Library Journal. This book takes you behind the curtain at one of the most innovative companies of the 20th & 21st centuries. Forbes said it "just might be the best business book ever written.”Listen to Forbes people.  

There you have it! If you read this and see items that you'd love you might ought to reshare it as a helpful hint.

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