I'm gonna be sharing three books that I wish I had read when I started out as a composer.
Show Your Work by Austin Kleon.
Now this book, in fact, all three of his books are just fantastic, and I recommend them in my newsletter as well because as a creative person, having another creative person writing a book that's basically like a warm hug and a motivational chat and a high five all in one, it's exactly what we need as composers and creative people.
I love creating videos. I love creating podcasts. I love sharing my process. It's a lot of fun and it feels really nice, but I didn't start doing it until 10 years after I started because I was absolutely terrified.
Terrified. I didn't know what I was doing. Terrified. I had no authority.
Terrified. I knew nothing. Terrified that I would get laughed at, terrified that I would fail.
I was so scared of doing this, had I started a YouTube channel sharing my process, Maybe I'd have at least 2000 more subscribers.
I could have helped more people along that way, and that book would've completely given me that lift and that push just to say, Hey dude, just share your process. It doesn't need to be these amazing polished videos. It can be whatever you want it to be. And that book encourages that.
Share your work with the world because it is a service.
Profit First by Mike Michalowicz.
Now, the reason I would've loved this book at the start is 'cause it would've given me so much more of an education about company income and profits and expenses, and it's not like a huge accountancy course. It's a really, really simple approach to making sure that you keep enough profit aside for you and your family, and you keep enough aside for your business.
It's really simple. I didn't realize quite early on in my career I was doing something similar. I kept what's called pots. By the way, this isn't financial advice. I'd be like, oh, I've got a hundred quid. I'm gonna put one quid in my charity donation, one quid in my toy box, I'd put a little bit of money aside for each little project that I was working on.
And that's kind of what Profit First is about. It's saying for all the money that comes in, you divide it all up. Into these things so that you feel much more in control of your money and that confidence to be in control of your income is huge.
And as creative people we are often not taught this stuff we're, we are not warned that we must be in charge of our money.
I know it sounds silly saying that, but you do. You have to be in charge of it. Especially as a freelancer, you can't always rely on the paycheck every month.
You might have a million pay cheques or you might have one pay cheque you don't know. So having this profit-first system was really helpful for me to set aside enough money and I'm covered for six months a year. This is fantastic. And you feel the weight lift and that for your creativity is priceless.
Rest by Alex Pang.
I have struggled over the years with overwork overwhelm and blurred lines between work and life.
Really struggled with it to the point where I would not let myself go outside and go for a walk. Because I was worried about missing out on possible work with clients, which had been really detrimental for me.
Having kids has been a blessing because it gave me a routine that I had to stick to. I had to take my children between the hours of one and four in the afternoon, so I couldn't work then. So I had to work in the morning. And this book kind of gives you the science behind why that type of work approach is actually really healthy.
Not just for your mind, but also for your creativity. It's all about working less to get more done.
Working four-hour blocks, going for daily walks, taking sabbaticals, taking naps, sleeping longer, and being outdoors. It's all these really simple things. But Alex Pang lists all this scientific research that proves that they have a positive impact on your creativity and your life. And that for me was just like, "Ah, it's okay. Science says that me having a nap in the afternoon isn't me being a lazy bum."
It's me actually improving my creativity, allowing my brain to sort through the ideas I've been working on in the morning. And had I had that, I would've embraced that so much more and I wouldn't have let fear get in the way. So much.
What are your takeaways from these three books?
- Get in control of your money.
- Share your work because your work is a gift to the world.
- And make time for rest.
It will make you a better person and a better composer.