The Wild Smithy

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Three books I use to boost productivity

"I like work. It fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours." ~Anonymous

It doesn't matter how many of the ideas are rubbish. What matters are the ideas.

Procrastination.

One of my first art teachers once said I excelled at it. She was very perceptive. I'm a pro when it comes to making myself busy with sh*t that doesn't need doing.

But how about yourself?

Do you consistently put off what you should have done yesterday? Does fear of failure halt you in your tracks? Or is it fear of success that paralyses you?

Whether you use doing the laundry, reorganising your dvd collection or binge-watching Netflix, we all have a different way of putting off what's important.

And in our hyper-connected world there's more pressure than ever to stay tuned, reactively reply or schedule more things to do; a thousand and one reasons not to get on with the one thing that should be a priority.

Some argue that procrastination could be performed in a positive way, in that you could be working on several other productive things, then get back to the main task whenever you're ready (like at the last minute, like most people. To quote feminist and author Rita Mae Brown: If it weren't for the last minute, nothing would ever get done).

But whether you can see procrastination as positive or not, it doesn't change the fact that it makes life difficult if you're trying to write the next best-selling novel, paint a compelling masterpiece or start up an online business.

And in this post, my first on my new website, I'd like to share some books that can help avoid procrastination; these gems are a trio of titles aimed at artists and entrepreneurs who are looking for a way to become more productive and realise their dreams.

These books will kick your arse into gear and get your project going.

First on the list is Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. This New York Times bestseller helps arty types feel reassured about their originality, artistry and presence in a world saturated by creative output. The author uses a fun and relatable style to encourage others to follow their artistic dreams in a ten-step process. I loved how conversational, realistic and genuine the book was and felt motivated to create more of my own stuff in the face of a deluge of other people's images and ideas.

Another book I'd recommend for its friendly, informal style is Joining the Dots by Alex Mathers. Using an A-Z format of signposts and advice for creative entrepreneurs, Mathers shares insights from his own experiences as a writer and illustrator. What I really liked about his book was Mather's familiar tone; it was like reading a guidebook written by an old school-friend or fellow classmate from my arts university days.

My favourite and most influential book this year so far has been The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. For me, (and others I've recommended it to) this book is simply mind-blowing in its scope and genius. It sparks a fire of determination to fulfil one's potential. Suddenly you can view procrastination in a whole new light and be ready to slay it. If you're an aspiring writer, artist, musician or entrepreneur, you need this book in your life!

So these are my three top picks to read if you want to beat procrastination and rise to the top. If you get around to reading them (after all your procrastinating), let me know what you think. And if you can suggest any others like them, send me your recommendations too.

Oh and one more thing before I go: Here's a little playlist I put together on Spotify; some music to get you in the mood to get stuff done. I hope you like it.

Now go and slay some demons.

The surest way to achieve anything is to start it...

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Who is Newton Wildsmith?
Freelance content writer.
Author, artist and English teacher.
Perpetual traveller, wannabe minimalist and animal-lover with vague-un (vaguely vegan) tendencies.
 Definitely a tree-hugger.
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