words that rocked | podcasts & books for creatives

Marian ParsonsArtistic Endeavors, Running a Business49 Comments

It’s hard to follow-up a heart-on-my-sleeve kind of post like the one I wrote yesterday.  I am still reading through the comments, savoring each one like the little gem that it is.  Some have already made me teary in our camaraderie and others have given me more to ponder as I strive to bring my creative retreat home and hang onto the energy it injected for a little longer.  I know that I will have to fight against falling into the same old patterns and mindsets.  I’ll have to grip tightly to the things that inspired and motivated me.

A large part of that is going to be keeping creative encouragement on tap.  I have to continue to read books, listen to podcasts, read articles and blog posts, and allow the wisdom and experience of others to prod me along.  I use to do that a lot, but it fizzled out.  It wasn’t that I thought I knew everything that needed to be known.  I just got busy.  Well, I lost intention.  That’s more accurate.  I can listen to an audio book or a podcast while painting trim just as easily as I can listen to Hamilton.  I do like singing along, though…

Anyway, today I wanted to share some of the words that completely rocked my world during this creative retreat.

I read two books, one was an actual book (more like a booklet) and one was an audio book I listened to while beach-combing and sitting in the sand.

The booklet was Managing Oneself released by the Harvard Business Review.

I read that one before I even got on the plane to Tampa and it really got me off to a good start.  It covers the importance of knowing three things about yourself…

  1. What are your strengths?
  2. How do you learn/work?
  3. What are your values?

This seemed a little boring and obvious as I was reading it, but I realized I had no clue how I learned.  Was I a reader, a hearer, a writer, or a speaker?  After much thought, I realized I was a reader.  I like to print things out.  I like to read over Jeff’s shoulder, even though he’s reading aloud to me.  I prefer learning from a book than a video.  And, if I have to learn from an auditory method, like a video, audio book, lecture, I have to take notes and read over them to fully nail it all down in my brain.

It also opened my eyes to the importance of listing my values (and this tied into a podcast I listened to later) and knowing my strengths.

The audio book I listened to was Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.  (Affiliate link)


Oh, creatives.  Hang onto your hats when you read/listen to this one.  I cannot even express how awesome this book was.  I don’t agree with everything 100% and there were parts and paragraphs that I could’ve done without, but those were few and far between.  They certainly didn’t take away from the creative pep talk Liz offers.  (She refers to herself as Liz in the book.)

So much of what she says seems obvious, but sometimes we just need someone to say it to us in a way that’s fresh and been-there-done-that.  She knows what it’s like to commit to creative pursuits.  She knows the rejections and the elations.  She knows the hard slog it can be as well as the soaring heights that can be reached.  She also knows the fear of the expectation to always top yourself.

For those who don’t know, she wrote Eat Pray Love.  I can’t imagine trying to top that kind of success!  I’ve never read that book or any of her other books, but Shaunna told me to read this book and it was referenced in several podcasts, so I downloaded it and ate it up.  And I love Liz’s spirit.

One of my favorite parts, and there are many, was when she references a famous saying, “What would you do if you knew you would not fail?”  Liz flipped that on its head and made it more powerful.   (And I’m paraphrasing because I listened to it!)  “What do you love doing so much that you would do it even if you knew you would fail?”

Even if failure is a part of your art, music, writing, singing, playing, making…would you do it, anyway?

If you download the audio book and listen to it at 1.25x, you can get through it in about 5 hours while you clean or exercise or paint.  You’ll be glad you did.  (Okay, I hope! Because now I’ve really built it up!)

I listened to several podcasts, but the one I kept coming back to was Being Boss.  Like Big Magic, I don’t agree with everything 100%, but there was so much good stuff in the episodes I listened to!  The three episodes that I took tons of notes on were – Becoming an Enthusiastic Leader , Behaving Like a Boss, and The Imposter Complex.

I found these episodes to be informative, practical, encouraging, motivating, and entertaining.  It was like sitting at a lunch table with successful creative entrepreneurs, listening to them spill their secrets and tips.  I tried to walk the beach while listening to these, but I just had to park my rear in the sand, so I could take notes.  (So I could read them back to myself!)

As a disclaimer, there is a parental advisory on this podcast, because of language.  It’s not excessive and I’m not offended by cursing in general, but this is a business podcast and I found it unprofessional when they pulled out the profanities.  They also go into some topics on other episodes that might be controversial or offensive to some.  I’m not one to throw the baby out with the bathwater, though.  I got a lot out of listening to them and can take what I like and leave what I don’t.  All of that to say, I would endorse the three episodes I linked and, beyond that, you’re on your own!

And, I won’t link to specific episodes, but I also liked Blogging Your Passion and Goal Digger and I plan to listen to more of those.  I’ll let you know when I come across more words that rock!

Until then, are there any other podcasts I must listen to?  Any audio books I should purchase?


words that rocked | podcasts & books for creatives

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49 Comments on “words that rocked | podcasts & books for creatives”

  1. Oh how I love podcasts and audio books! I love Brendon Buchard, his podcast and book High Performance Habits. Another podcast Ken Coleman, Made for Profit (it’s anot what I do but they do hit on several general topics.) and Darren Rouse on Problogger.

  2. I love listening podcasts and audio books while I paint! I just started listening to Called to Create: A Biblical Invitation to Create, Innovate, and Risk by Jordan Raynor, it is amazing! Definitely worth your time!

  3. Thank you for sharing. I would recommend Brent Brown’s book daring greatly. There are TED talks she gives that will give you a flavour. I have struggled because I strive to be authentic sometimes in the face of adversity. This book gave me the courage to keep on being authentic as it is a matter of integrity for me. I was finding it a lonely place to be. The book illustrated how important it is and gave me much peace with my decisions.

  4. So good to have so many got to options so to grow! Happy to hear this trip was a theraputic time to grow….and then to share. Thank you!!!

  5. I love your posts Marian, and your honesty and transparency. Loved reading your blogs and think you are doing a great job! Your posts always inspire me to be more creative. I am a nurse in nurse practitioner school (finish in December) so I’m pretty busy. But I always enjoy reading your blogs or watching your insta stories! I love all things chalk paint, antiques and crafts and try to squeeze in time to do those things. Anyway, I hope to squeeze in time to read the books you mentioned. I also wanted to say you should totally lead a creative beach retreat with workshops sometime! I would love to come! 🙂
    Jenny M.
    Baton Rouge, LA

  6. Here is something I heard yesterday that could be helpful. Write down all your fears. Anything that gives you a bad/negative feeling in your life. Then really sink into them. What is the worst that could happen? Your worse case scenario. Often the answer to your fears are hidden in them. Then you flip the paper over and write out the best case scenario for each. This is where you’ll find thankfulness, joy and hope. I haven’t tried it myself, but Missy Butcher, who mentioned it, seems to have a beautiful life. Praying…

  7. Be aware that in Eat, Pray, Love, the author stated that Jesus Christ is NOT the ONLY way to heaven. Tread carefully…..

  8. Yes, agree with Lesley above. I got a sick feeling in my stomach when you mentioned Elizabeth Gilbert. I started to read E,P,L many years ago and had to put it down because of the things she was writing and her world view contrary to my Biblical world view. Would love to hear any recommendations for resources with a more spiritual emphasis for Christian creatives and entrepreneurs!!

    1. As I said, I have never read EPL, but Big Magic was great. I knew the book was coming from a different world view than my own, but I liked that. I can take what’s an encouragement and leave what I disagree with.

  9. Eat Pray Love was one of my favorite books…Hee writing makes you feel like you are right there there with her

  10. Sorry, I can’t be a part of a blog where “christians” think that they own the only path to the beyond.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly and feel this is why tradtional chrsitianity is losing membeer at the current rapid pace. They don’t own spiituality OR GOD!

  11. Marion, I found BIG MAGIC a couple years ago and just this January reread it again. I also shared my love of this book over a facebook post to all my creative followers this past January. It definitely gets you thinking and loosing fears that some creative folks have! I am glad to know you enjoyed the book as well. Chris Williams Crafter in a Cottage

  12. I’ve never read EPL even though it’s on my shelf and I’ve heard so many people recommend it. Maybe some day I will but to this point, the premise just hasn’t really engaged me. That said, I consider myself both a Christian and a creative but I’ve never felt my own faith the least bit threatened by other people’s varying beliefs.

    Marian, your photo sent a thrill of joy through me. I will be on the southwest coast of FL with my teenaged daughters and two of their friends. I’m really, really hoping that with them being the ages they are now, I will get to steal an hour or two for my own “creative retreat” on the beach.

    1. Yes, I agree. I can read books written from other points of view and still learn a lot from them and be enriched by them. It was a beautiful beach and amazing weather!

  13. I just LOVED big magic. Especially the part that ideas are free floating and just waiting for a person to attach themselves to. THAT started a whole day dream for me. Were ideas watching me RIGHT NOW waiting for me to interpret their signals. On and on. Glad you reminded me!

    In this blog you have weathered many changes and taken the next steps. This is just one more. You’re going to be fine.

    1. Yes, that was a very whimsical way of looking at it. At first, I thought it was a little nutty, but I realized that I talk about my furniture as if that piece is a being! Of course, I don’t really think it is. It’s just my way of relating to it and sharing the process with my readers. 🙂

  14. I know this is a creative blog but I want to respond. As a Christian I don’t exactly own the path, but I have been told exactly what that path is and how to Journey on it. I have also been warned that the path is narrow. I have come to understand there are no alternative routes to God.

  15. I have a thought: you might be an extrovert and need the excitement of working with others to maintain your enthusiasm and drive. So much of your creative work is relective and introverted and maybe it would be more exciting to team with others as often as possible. Just an idea. Hoping the best for you!

    1. Very insightful! Yes, I miss having a studio where I worked with other people in person. I am working on some collaborations, though, and I agree that stokes my enthusiasm.

  16. I think Heidi who commented above was meaning Brene Brown. I’ve read Braving the Wilderness and it was very good. She also wrote Daring Greatly, among a few other books. I admire your honesty and vulnerability. Blessings!!!

  17. I look forward to finding BIG MAJIC! Consider adding THE DAILY DRUCKER to your read pile. Just finishing Madeliene L’Engle WALK ON WATER.

  18. Just a comment for Kate and Gail, expressing frustration at Christians for being spiritual ‘exclusives’. When Christians state that Jesus Christ is the only way to God, this is not their own idea. It came from Jesus himself. Jesus stated that no one gets to God, except through him (John 14:6). Jesus would have been pretty stupid to die the humiliating, painful death he did, if there were alternative ways to get to God. Please consider these issues further. There are plenty of great resources on how we can believe the Bible and its archaeological, prophetic and statistical accuracy.
    Apologies for this “non-painting” comment, but please don’t be angry at Christians for believing that Jesus is the only way to God.

  19. I appreciate your insightfulness and honesty in your last few posts. As a stay at home mom, I struggle to find time to work in my studio and develop my art. I can relate to so many of the things from your last post, but I am also so impressed by all that you have accomplished With your business. You are truly inspiring!
    One of my biggest hurdles is being grateful for what I have and what I am able to do n my limited time. I’m always stressing about what I didn’t get finished and getting overwhelmed instead of being proud of how far I’ve come with my art. I don’t know about you, but I don’t leave my house enough and I’m trying to establish a field trip schedule to improve my outlook and find inspiration.
    I already ordered the daily painting book and have read over half of it. I’m planning to start that challenge after my big show in June. I will definitely look into these books as well. Thank you for your honesty, encouragement and inspiration. I look forward to seeing where our creativity takes us.

    1. I think contentment is just about always a struggle! I’m so with you!

      Yes, isn’t Daily Painting such a great book? I love how open Carol is.

  20. Ive been doing my own soul searching lately so reading this I totally understand. I just listened to How to be a Badass and loved it! This too has a little swearing, I’m mean even in the title so that’s no surprise, but it was just what I needed. Also have you found your Enneagram number? It’s a personality test which sounds lame I know but it changed my life. Thank you for sharing. I’m a huge fan and I’m always cheering for you.

  21. Thanks for sharing your journey….the highs and lows. As uneasy as the rough/reflective parts are, they seem to be a good place for growth and learning.
    I enjoy your posts and reading all of the comments. We are all unique, but also, similar. 😉
    All the best from Florida!

  22. I agree with Michelle. You should find your Enneagram number, read “The Road Back to You” and listen to the podcast “Typology”. This new perspective changed how I view myself and how I want to move forward in my life and my art. Marian, I think that the think that anxiety always tell us is that we are on our own growing edge. We can chose to go forward as you have done or sit in a space of uncertainty. Congratulations!

  23. Dear Marian
    Called to Create by Jordan Raynor (subtitle: a biblical invitation to create, innovate, and risk) is a very good (audio) book and I can only recommend it! For a first idea of what it’s about: calledtocreate.org – It’s encouraging, inspiring, quite revealing, well founded… you should read/listen to it (but then “you should”s have always been so oppressive for me…) Listening to the book (and I haven’t finished yet) has been a revelation and a blessing – and challenging in a good way. Blessings, H

  24. Thanks for sharing all that you do with us Miss Mustard Seed! I love reading your posts – you are so open and it is greatly appreciated. As a solepreneur, it can get lonely. Working from home has so many pluses and I am not complaining. Reading your posts along with other blogs and social media helps me to stay connected to the outside world 🙂
    BTW Goal Digger podcast is so addicting 🙂 I listen to the same episodes over and over and take notes too! Some of those notes are written on my workbench 😉
    Have a great day!

  25. Marian,
    Thank you for sharing your creative retreat with us. It seems to be a real boost for you and your creativity!
    I know you got some negative comments and I personally am sorry that happened. You were being very honest and raw, which made you vulnerable to critics, but it was so real and touching to me personally. I thank you for sharing such a deeply personal issue with us.
    For the critics, esp. those trying to assume you were espousing non-Christian views, there are other viewpoints in the world. I am a Christian (married to a pastor!) but I feel when we close ourselves off from other viewpoints entirely, it makes us shallow. We must be able to look at other’s views and discern what is being said and done. We can then glean what is speaking to us, whether to disregard, whether to accept, or just ponder to firm up OUR belief system.
    Please don’t take everyone’s comments to heart. You do a wonderful job of expressing yourself and seem to be a very humble spiritual woman even if you don’t talk about it on each and every post.

  26. Caladesi Island is one of my favorite local places to go and just Be. I’m a reader. Which I kind of odd since I also love LOVE movies and TV. While I look at educational videos, I’d rather read, it’s how I learn and how I filter. Podcasts are still not my thing, but perhaps I just haven’t tried the right ones, the ones I tried involved 3 ladies who spent more time laughing and saying “um” and “anyhow,” so I haven’t bothered since. I love listening to music while I work, but often when immersed in a book, the outside world just fades away. I did read Eat, Pray, Love and enjoyed it immensely so will for sure purchase her new book. I enjoy and have enjoyed your blog, your books especially your first book, which I still pick up from time to time and never close it without feeling a renewed sense of energy. I hope you continue to find the energy and inspiration for yourself so that you can continue to pass it on. Selfish I know, but there it is. I’m so glad you enjoyed your stay in my home State. And got out before it got cold again. Yes, cold is relative but when you live in 90 degree heat for months on end, 40 feels COLD!

  27. Have you listened to Keeping Shop? It’s a great podcast and you would be amazing on there! I love listening to other people’s stories and their experiences. Great info! Even businesses that aren’t similar to mine. Loving these posts that last couple of days. Thank you!

  28. I adore the “Boss Up” podcast, by Lindsay Teague Moreno. This mom of three young girls so real, smart, savvy and spot-on when it comes to entrepreneurship.

    Start with the first episode, so that you don’t miss any of her pull-no-punches wisdom. Love her!

  29. I don’t think Marian ever intended for this post to be about dishonoring someone’s faith, but we all live in the same world. We’re to be a light to the WHOLE world, not just mix with our own safe little group. It IS important to know what you believe so you can separate truth from non-truth. That said, I appreciate the recommendations. I feel God is working on me in the area of fear and moving beyond it to use my gifts. Marian, I so appreciate the titles you’ve put forth as food for thought, but also your post “Fear is Not the Boss”. It never occurred to me that you might experience fear! It really helped me to know that you do and that you challenge yourself to push past it. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for your generosity of spirit. As I pray for myself and my creative journey, I will pray for yours as well, for certainly God has begun a good work in you!

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