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Marie Forleo: What’s up, party people. I’m Marie Forleo, and for the past 20 years I have been obsessed with learning what it takes to turn dreams into reality. I started my company back in the day with no clue, no connections, no money, and over time grew it into something spectacular. I created the award-winning show MarieTV, was named by Oprah as a thought leader for the next generation, and wrote the instant number one New York Times bestseller, Everything is Figureoutable.
Marie Forleo: I’ve helped millions of people transform their businesses and lives, and every week, I’m going to help you take action and make the difference you were born to make. But please do not expect anything about this to be traditional. We’ve got songs, we’ve got weird sound effects, the occasional F-bombs, maybe some fart jokes if you’re lucky, and anything else that makes me laugh. It is all fair game because this is the Marie Forleo podcast.
Marie Forleo: If you’re a book lover or a book writer or some kind of creative human being, today’s episode is for you. We’re going to talk about our love of books today, and specifically, books that have helped my team and I overcome some creative challenges like perfectionism, imposter syndrome, or just that general feeling of not being good enough. So think about this one like a little bit of a virtual book club between you, myself, Team Forleo, and our entire community. I want you to put on your cozy pants if you got them, or you can just take off your pants, who cares, no one’s going to see you. Grab a cup of coffee or tea, a glass of red or sparkling water, whatever floats your beverage boat, and settle in for a very special episode that we’re calling #ILovedThisBook, creativity edition. But first, a word from today’s sponsor.
Charlene: Oh, geez Louise, not again.
Marie: What’s wrong, Charlene?
Charlene: Where do I even start? I’m writing consistent content every week on my website and nobody seems to care.
Marie: Have you tried The Copy Cure?
Charlene: The Copy Cure? What’s that?
Marie: Oh, it’s this online copywriting course to help you write clear and compelling copy for social media, blog posts, website copy, whatever. It’s helped thousands of marketers, authors, copywriters, and entrepreneurs write in a way that’s persuasive and unique-sounding without being overly weird or pushy.
Charlene: I don’t know. You think it’s really going to help?
Marie: Oh, absolutely, Charlene. In fact, you should take the free seven-day writing class that we’re offering right now at thecopycure.com.
Charlene: Ooh, sounds great. Where do I sign up for that free writing class again?
Marie: Oh, it’s thecopycure.com. And, oh, honey, if you still didn’t hear it, rewind the damn podcast.
Marie Forleo: One of my earliest memories was when I was about four years old. I was sitting in the grammar school library in Iselin, New Jersey on the floor, surrounded by piles of books. My mom was volunteering for my older brother’s class and the kindergarten teacher, her name was Mrs. Krusin, was keeping an eye on me. I remember feeling intoxicated by that special smell of books that libraries always have and just feeling mesmerized by it all. I felt like every book was this window into an entirely different universe, and I would trace the words and the pictures with my fingers working so hard to figure out what it all meant.
Marie Forleo: One of the first books that I got obsessed with was Harold and the Purple Crayon. Do you remember that one? I loved the colors of the book, but I think the thing that really got me was the fact that the entire story was about a child who had the power to create his own world using his imagination. He wanted to go for a walk in the moonlight, but there wasn’t a moon, so he drew one in. And then after walking along this straight path for a bit, he realized he wasn’t getting anywhere. So he took that crayon of his and he drew a new, different path, which led to a lot more adventures.
Marie Forleo: Books have always been, and I predict they always will be, a huge part of my life. Every single thing that I’ve done or overcome or learned usually ties back to something I figured out or got inspired by in a book. People still ask me all the time. They say, “Marie, what books do you recommend?” In fact, somebody just asked me on YouTube, they said, “Hey, Marie, can you do a video on the top 20 books that made the biggest impact on your life? Your must-reads.”
Marie Forleo: If you’ve listened to this show for any amount of time, you know I often interview authors about their books, but given everything that’s happening right now, I thought it would be fun to curate a little reading list just for you specifically about creativity. You can find the full list of all the books on the blog if you google, “Marie Forleo books to read on creativity.”
Marie Forleo: Now, if you’re wondering, why are you guys picking creativity as the theme for this one, here’s the reason. Right now, most of us have to be even more creative than we’ve ever been before and we have to do it fast. We all have to change the way that we’re living and working and doing business and even moving about our lives, which requires tremendous creativity and imagination, and a bit of determination.
Marie Forleo: I want to share with you a little passage right now from one of my all-time favorite books about creativity. It’s called The War of Art and it’s written by my dear friend, Steven Pressfield. The title of this section is called Resistance and Fear. Steven writes, “are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it. Resistance is experienced as fear. The degree of fear equates to the strength of resistance. Therefore, the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That’s why we feel so much resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there’d be no resistance.
Marie Forleo: Have you ever watched Inside the Actors studio? The host, James Lipton, invariably asks his guests, ‘What factors make you decide to take a particular role?’ The actor always answers, ‘Because I’m afraid of it.’ The professional tackles the project that will make him stretch. He takes on the assignment that will bear him into unchartered waters, compel him to explore unconscious parts of himself. Is he scared? Hell, yes. He’s petrified. Conversely, the professional turns down roles that he’s done before. He’s not afraid of them anymore. Why waste his time? So if you’re paralyzed with fear, it’s a good sign. It shows you what you have to do.” That’s the end of the passage from The War of Art.
Marie Forleo: Now, why do I love this one so much? Because every major breakthrough in my own creative life, before I do it, and even as I’m doing it, I’ve got to be honest, I’m terrified. I remember feeling so afraid when I gave my very first personal development workshop when I was about 24 years old. I was also terrified when I decided that I wanted to do a different kind of book launch for Everything is Figureoutable. It was an idea that I had that had literally never been done before. I thought to myself, what if a Beyonce concert and a TED Talk had a baby, and then threw a block party? And if you’ve been following me for a while, you know this, we did it. It was amazing, and it was scary the entire way through.
Marie Forleo: And now I’m actually starting to work on my next book, and there’s aspects of this one that have me totally twisted up. But as I’ve learned, and as Steven shares, you have to trust the guidance of creative fear. As I like to say, fear is a GPS for where my soul most wants to go. And I bet the same thing might be true for you too. Now, some of Team Forleo are here to share their favorite books about creativity too. Have a listen.
Marian: I’m Marian and I’m a copywriter. I chose Bird by Bird by the incredible Anne Lamott and this book, she wrote it years ago, and it’s about creativity and writing, but from a personal angle, which I think is one of the reasons that this book resonated with me so much. It’s not a how-to about writing, it’s musings on writing life but not douchey, because I realized that sounds really douchey, but basically Anne just talks about her journey as a writer and the struggles and the advice and the things that have gotten her through the writing life.
Marian: I think about this book all the time because I write all day for my job and I do a lot of personal writing. The single idea that changed my life was in this book, and the idea is Lamott’s take on the shitty first draft. So basically, just sitting down and getting something out. Because I have always found on the days when I just don’t want to write and things feel terrible, or when I’m working on my novel and I don’t know where it’s going, or I’m trying to write an email and it’s just coming out wrong, that if I just get the shittiest version out on paper, it is infinitely easier to edit, and it feels so much freer once there’s something on the paper.
Marian: And I think Anne, who is this incredibly talented writer, talking about the garbage that comes out the first time she writes something, makes me feel better because I think she just has this really funny way of talking about how basically even the best writers that you know have no idea what they’re doing until they’ve done it. And nobody just sits down at their desk with their beret and their cigarette and churns out this beautiful sentence, that it takes a ton of work and a ton of workshopping and a ton of editing. And knowing that has made me feel so much better about the writing process. So I talk about and I talk about this concept all the time.
Marian: This is my favorite part of Bird by Bird and it makes me laugh every time. So here we go. “The first draft is the child’s draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later. You just let this childlike part of you channel whatever voices and visions come through and onto the page. If one of the characters wants to say, ‘Well, so what, Mr. Poopy Pants?’ you let her. No one is going to see it. If the kid wants to get into really sentimental, weepy, emotional territory, you’d let him. Just get it all down on paper because there may be something great in those six crazy pages that you would have never gotten to by more rational, grown-up means. There may be something in the very last line of the very last paragraph on page six that you just love, that is so beautiful or wild that you now know what you’re supposed to be writing about, more or less, or in what direction you might go, but there was no way to get to this without first getting through the first five and a half pages.”
Louise: My name is Louise and I am Head of Storytelling. I chose From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg. This was one of my very favorite books as a kid, perhaps my favorite, and it still is now. It really impacted my life. I related a lot. I read it probably way earlier than I should have, and I related a lot to Claudia Kincaid, the main character, in her desire for adventure and to kind of shake up her life. I never thought about running away, but I admired her desire to do so and to choose the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City as the place to go. I think it definitely intensified my determination to live in New York City, which I do. And I actually read it out loud when I was pregnant with my son Griffin a few years ago. I just decided to read it, and it probably took me about a month to get through it, but it was one of the things I read out loud. I just picked it up. I don’t know why, probably because I have such a love for it.
Louise: I’m going to pull up the section of the book that has always sat with me. Claudia and Jamie have met Mrs. Frankweiler and they’re talking to her about learning something new every day. And she said, “I think you should learn, of course, and some days you must learn a great deal, but you should also have days when you allow what is already in you to swell up inside of you until it touches everything and you can feel it inside you. If you never take time out to let that happen, then you just accumulate facts, and they begin to rattle around inside of you. You can make noise with them but never really feel anything with them. It’s hollow.”
Louise: It is a beautiful book with thick mystery and intrigue and the map of the museum, and everything I’ve ever read about the book and I guess they did a 50th anniversary thing at the Met for it, everything about it is talked about, like the adventure and the intrigue and the idea of living in a museum for a week, and all of these cool things that would happen from that. And where would you sleep and what would you do when no one else was there? But I think the biggest thing is about the idea of learning and knowledge and absorbing and that you have to take the space for that stuff to fill you and change you, because otherwise, it just washes over you. It rattles around inside of you, as she says, and it never really sinks in and becomes part of the matter of you that then brings whatever you’re supposed to do to the world.
Jayasri: I’m Jayasri. I’m on the Customer Happiness Team. We really support our customers through B-school, The Copy Cure, life and everything that MarieTV brings forth and people’s hearts.
Jayasri: I chose Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. I chose that book because I remembered reading it at a time, I was a teenager when I first read that book, and I had lost my father. Needless to say, it was a really difficult time. And this book is just so comforting. It’s a collection of 10 letters from the poet Rilke to another young poet, really giving life advice and so many nuggets of wisdom about the creative path and the journey. And it’s so much about going inward and trusting the process and trusting our path. So it was so comforting for me and I thought it really connected to the topic of creativity in a unique way.
Jayasri: I would say that one of the things that has challenged me the most personally, creatively, is having so many different interests and really wanting to explore different creative outlets. I’ve been so hard on myself about that and thinking that, no, it just has to be one thing. If you want to do something well, it can only be one art form. But everyone has a different journey. And if your heart’s being pulled in these different creative mediums or towards these different creative mediums, to just allow it, just let it be. There is something unique for you in each of those explorations, and again, it comes back to that comparing with others. If we compare to others, we might think that it has to be or should be a certain way, but just trusting that your voice can come through so many different forms, and you don’t know where it’s leading or how they connect and it’s okay.
Jayasri: For anyone feeling the impacts of uncertainty during this time, this passage from Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke is one of my favorites. “Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any misery, any depression? Since after all, you don’t know what work these conditions are doing inside you. Why do you want to persecute yourself with the question of where all this is coming from and where it is going? Since you know, after all, that you are in the midst of transitions and you wished for nothing so much as to change.”
Marie Forleo: Kind of fun, right? Remember, you can check out the full list of curated books about creativity over at marieforleo.com/blog.
Marie Forleo: Now, one more thing. I read this stat in the New York Times, I thought it was fascinating. It was about 80% of people in the world feel like they have a book in them and they should write it. I bet you have either written a book already or you’re working on your next one or you want to write a book. And let me tell you a little bit of an embarrassing secret. When I was working on Everything is Figureoutable and I was writing it, I hit all kinds of walls. I had writer’s block, I was getting super down on myself, I even cried a lot of times. You name it, I had it. You want to know one of the things that I did when I got stuck? This is the embarrassing part. I actually went and did the exercises from my own writing course called The Copy Cure. That’s right. I went and took my own damn advice and I did my own course to get unstuck, and guess what? It worked.
Marie Forleo: And look, I’m not the only one. I actually got an email from a Copy Cure student who’s also an author named Michelle, and she wrote, “Dear Marie, Copy Cure has been a game changer for me and my work. In fact, my little girl and I released a new children’s book on the 30th and it’s been an Amazon bestseller.” Her name is Michelle, and her book title is Coco & Olive: The Color of Love, a children’s book celebrating diversity and adoption.
Marie Forleo: Honestly, even if you don’t want to write a book ever, there is a good chance that you have something you want to share with the world. Maybe it’s an idea, it’s a product, it’s a service, something that you have to get the message out about. And I believe, personally, one of the most powerful skills in the world is the ability to articulate your ideas in a way that’s clear and inspires people to take action. And, yes, that is a skill. It’s one that anyone can learn and develop.
Marie Forleo: So I’ve got this free class coming up. It’s called The Five Writing Mistakes You Can’t Afford To Make In Your Business. And if you’re interested, you should come. You can go register now at thecopycure.com. I do want to let you know that doors to the full Copy Cure writing program open on May 6th. We’re going to have all the information up at thecopycure.com, and if it’s right for you, we’d love to have you join us. We back everything up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee and, of course, you have access to material for life.
Marie Forleo: And now my friend, it’s time for our insight to action challenge. Remember, we do not want passive listeners here on the Marie Forleo Podcast. We want you to metabolize what you learn and use it to create a richer, fuller life. Today’s challenge, very simple. I want to know what book has made the biggest impact on your creative journey and why. So all I need you to do is take a screenshot of you listening to this episode, tag me at Marie Forleo, and if you can, tag the author too. Writing a book is a really challenging process, and as an author myself, it means a lot when you hear from readers that your book made a difference to them. So tag me and the author and use the hashtag #ILovedThisBook.
Marie Forleo: Now, if you enjoyed this episode, leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcast. It would mean so much to me and the team. Thank you so much for listening, and until next time, stay on your game and keep going for your dreams, because the world really does need that very special gift that only you have. Sending you so much love, and I’ll talk to you soon.
Marie Forleo: Oh my goodness, I adore you because you’re still listening. Now, look, you are clearly someone who goes all the way in life and that’s why you should become an MF Insider. It’s a weekly inspiration explosion in your inbox in the best way possible, of course. Seriously though, you’re about to get so much love, so much motivation, it might just be illegal. Head over to marieforleo.com/subscribe. Your inbox will thank you for it.