5 Books to Supercharge Your Creativity [Part 2 of 5]
TikTok is a potential Facebook killer.
It’s a social media platform that allows you to express your creativity via video synced to music in just 30-second bite-sized chunks. TikTok currently has over one billion monthly active users worldwide and the app has been downloaded more than 2 billion times.
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Why it matters
Social media has changed the game for creators. It’s empowered them to create and share their work without the friction of the mass media gatekeepers that used to be a barrier to reaching a global audience.
So, creating. It lies at the heart of any entrepreneurial endeavor.
Products and services that make a difference in the world are at the heart of change. Solve a problem or make it easier.
Steve Jobs reinvented the music player (1000 songs in your pocket, the iPod) and transformed how we listen to and consume music. Then he gave us the iPhone which made it easier to communicate and create.
The simplest (and lowest risk) way to start being paid for your creations is with an “online side hustle”.
Social media and smartphones have also reduced friction between creating and attention. Create and hit publish! You’re global and visible.
Social media provides the reach to be found and start to be paid for your art.
Social media was the start of the game. What happened next was adding a smartphone to the mix. Suddenly you could then create and share from anywhere in the world with text and images and video.
It’s a perfect storm of opportunity for creators and artists….and entrepreneurs.
So…. sidebar and context: this has all happened in just over 10 years.
Creating covers many media types and video is just one layer. Writing, audio, painting, and photography are all part of the creative tapestry too.
It’s also about creating products and services that make a difference in the world. And that is the art of the entrepreneur.
5 books to supercharge your creativity
These are books that have touched my soul and supercharged my creative inspiration.
Stephen King is known more for fiction books than non-fiction. This book is part memoir (for the first 100 pages) and then he reveals in the last 200 pages the basic toolkit for becoming a great writer.
His passion for writing is obvious and compelling. His life journey is revealing. Three key messages impressed me…the importance of:
That is just the start of what you will find between its covers.
Find out more: On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft
If you want to learn more about the art, and the challenges of the creative sphere then this book is packed full of insights. If you are an artist, writer, musician, business person or you are breathing and have a pulse….doesn’t everything involve being creative?
It is about overcoming roadblocks and resistance in life to becoming the best version of yourself. It is about “doing the work” that is congruent with your purpose and destiny.
This book by Cal Newport was an inspiring look at creating art that matters. And it requires you to commit to focused deep work. And that is not about superficial pieces like tweets and photo sharing.
Get that right and your output moves from normal to extraordinary.
In this book, he discusses two types of work. Shallow work (or busyness) and deep work…where the magic happens.
The habit of making the time for doing work that matters is something I discovered over seven years ago. I discovered on reading the book that it was something I had been doing but by a different name. The reality is that it was a habit I had already formed. Sitting down every day and time blocking the time to create content of consequence.
I wrote more about it in this post, “This One Habit Transformed My Life”
This book discusses and distils the practice of building a legacy and making a difference.
It’s well worth a read if you want to create something that matters or succeed in a world that is sometimes seen through the lens and distractions of a shallow social web.
I must confess I have read this book more than twice and hence it has a lot of coffee stains. The essence of the book reveals the secrets of success in the social media and Internet age. Let’s sum that up in one sentence. If you create great content the world will show up and pay you.
What I also loved about this book was its revelations on how to communicate and market in a digital world. I was tired of the old ways of marketing and selling and David Meerman Scott opened up my eyes to a new paradigm. It is about being authentic and talking plainly. It is also social media 101.
This book preceded the launching of my blog but it is woven into its tapestry.
It should be sitting in your Kindle book list or parked on your shelf after it has been consumed and underlined.
It was a newsletter announcing that Axios Media had just sold its newsletter business for over half a billion dollars that caught my attention!
That means they must be doing something right. And as a subtext, the team behind this had a substantial track record and had also launched and succeeded with another media site prior: Politico.
Amazon’s intro book summary starts with this:
“Brevity is confidence. Length is fear. This is the guiding principle of Smart Brevity, a communication formula built by Axios journalists to prioritize essential news and information, explain its impact and deliver it in a concise and visual format. Now, the co-founders of Axios have created an essential guide for communicating effectively and efficiently using Smart Brevity—think Strunk and White’s Elements of Style for the digital age”.
In a world of short attention spans and so much noise, the art of communicating has become an art and a science. One of the insights was when they analyzed the data for reading they discovered that most people only read the headline and a sentence and then clicked away.
The challenge as a creator and writer in a high-noise and distracted world is how to engage fast and then keep them with you.
In essence, the book outlines 3 key elements to capturing someone’s attention that will get them to click.
- Great headline
- An opening sentence that is relevant to the headline that tells me something new or interesting I haven’t heard before.
- Next: You need to tell them “Why that matters”
If you get those fundamentals right then your audience and readers will love you because you haven’t wasted their time and you’ve delivered something of value with brevity!
If they want to go deeper then the rest of the article you create will take them there or links to more in-depth information.
Wrapping it up
Whatever your preferred media is as a creator, it is an art and science in a world of information overload to engage, connect and keep them interested.
It is a battle for attention.
Today the creator needs to produce their content with brevity first.
Read Part 1 of this series: 6 Books That Inspired My Online Side Hustle Success
Read Part 3 of this series: These 6 Books Reveal How to Get Free Traffic on Social Media