This post features affiliate links and some review copies (marked with *)
This year I’ve been working on my personal and professional development, exploring new ways to be creative and learn new things. Grow & Glow and Simply Lettering have been hugely influential lately, and I’ve also been using my commute to devour some truly inspiring books.
I highly recommend checking out all of these books if you’re a blogger, creative, or small business owner. I’ve included a little review of each book below, along with a few top tips I picked up – I won’t give away all of their secrets!
Hashtag Authentic by Sara Tasker
Sara Tasker’s podcast, Hashtag Authentic, is one of the few I regularly make time for. When I heard that she was releasing a book I knew I had to check it out. It’s stunning, as you’d expect from this fabulous woman, and there’s a lot to take away, whether you’re new to Instagram or a seasoned pro.
- Capture moments, not things. And tell a story.
- Do it for the photo, not the likes.
- Geotagging can improve views by up to 79%.
- There’s magic in the mundane.
- Build connections by showing yourself.
Favourite quote: “How is me sharing my morning coffee going to change the world? Well, maybe it won’t, but that doesn’t mean it has no value. Perhaps your habit of making time for your coffee each day gives a burnt-out mother permission to do the same for herself. Perhaps the caption you add, mentioning how you switched from plastic coffee pods to a biodegradable line, prompts a handful of others to do the same, and then take further steps to go plastic-free. Maybe the cafe you tagged in the photography gains a new local customer thanks to you, and becomes a little more profitable as a result. Connection, communication and community are the underrated secret weapons of social media.”
How Your Story Sets You Free by Heather Box and Julian Mocine-McQueen*
Now that I’ve narrowed my niche and am focusing more on books and stationery, and with less general lifestyle posts, it’s easy to think that this blog isn’t particularly personal. In reality, a lot of the books I write about are empowering and inspiring, and the stationery posts focus a lot on the benefits of journaling, so I’d like to be able to express how these products have helped me. I’d love to grow my confidence writing about the more personal everyday and hopefully sharing more will help others. This book has certainly inspired me to make a start.
- We all have a story to tell.
- The listener turns the story into their own idea and experience.
- Stories expand our emotional connection to a topic.
- Personal storytelling is at the heart of creating a more empathetic world.
- Details make stories come alive.
Favourite quote: “Your story can influence and inspire someone – perhaps many people – and it can expand your understanding of your own experiences and values.”
Find Your Artistic Voice by Lisa Congdon*
I always thought I wasn’t particularly artistic; my bullet journal posts are evidence of the fact that I’m a writer rather than a typical creative. But we’re all creative in our own way and I found Lisa Congdon’s latest book really helpful when it comes to finding my voice for this blog.
- No idea is completely original. Being influenced by others is part of the process.
- Finding your voice/style takes time. Be patient with yourself and enjoy the journey.
- Practice until it comes easily. Make it part of your routine. Beginning is the hardest thing.
- Take risks. Experiment.
- Find a community.
Favourite quote: “The process of finding your voice is like uncovering your own superpower.”
How to Style Your Brand by Fiona Humberstone
I’ve been working in marketing and communications for the best part of a decade, yet I’ve learned a lot from Fiona Humberstone’s books on branding. If you’re about to launch a new business, or are looking to re-brand, you need these books in your life. Admittedly, there’s a lot in this first book which wasn’t entirely new to me, thanks in large part to Grow & Glow (seriously, go sign up if you’re not already a member), however it’s a great starting point.
1. Brand styling basics
3. Creating your vision
4. Create your logo
5. Pulling together your brand elements
6. Styling it up
Brand Brilliance by Fiona Humberstone
I got a lot more from her follow up and particularly liked the sections on photo styling, copywriting, and writing proposals – there’s a lot here to help me develop my blog.
- Define what success means to you and focus on that.
- You don’t have to be good at everything; celebrate what makes you different.
- Look at your competitors. What is your unique spot in the market?
- Mood boards are key to research and development.
- Create evergreen content.
Favourite quote: “Try not to confuse your personal taste with what is right for your brand.”
I was particularly interested in the crossovers with these books, as several mentioned values (personal/brand) and speaking your truth/telling your own story. I think people are much more interested in personal journeys and making those connections these days and I’m excited to explore this more.
What books have inspired you creatively?