• Scott Herring

Summer Reading for Bloggers

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned it before, but Michael and I are both avid readers. My goal is to read a couple of books a month (3 if you count audiobooks), and I'd bet his pace is at least that. First and foremost, reading feeds my creativity and energy. Selecting from a range of non-fiction and fiction not only educates, but it inspires. We swap titles regularly since we have similar goals -- developing writing skills, improving audience reach, pushing our boundaries, and standing out. A while back, Michael shared some good titles for amping up your writing. With summer coming, I know I'll have more opportunities to read (at the beach, on trips, or at little league games...). To inspire you, I'll share a few titles that make good summer reading for bloggers. I'll explain how each puzzle piece fits together too.

Rare Breed: A Guide to Success for the Defiant, Dangerous, and Different

by Sonny Bonnell and Ashleigh Hansberger

I heard an interview of Sonny Bonnell on a podcast last year, and boy did her message resonate. As we espouse here at Renegade Blogger, there are way too many scoops of vanilla ice cream in the blogosphere. You must stand out. Sonny & Ashleigh, who run a wildly successful creative agency, explain how and why being a rare breed matters. In my library, you can tell which books I get the most out of by little torn paper bookmarks poking from the top. This little gem is heavily bookmarked!

Steal Like an Artist

by Austin Kleon

Kleon's book is a few years old, and he's added to the series, but I found this one useful in looking at the creative process. It's a super quick read, and it's chock full of inspiration. I love the visuals too. Amateurs borrow, professionals steal.

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

by Steven Pressfield

We all get stuck -- writer's block is surely a thing -- and we need a kick in the ass. Pressfield gives you the ammo for your creative tommy gun. Stop procrastinating already, and read it... :)

Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of Creative Life

by Dani Shapiro

Ms. Shapiro is a renowned writer, and this book takes us backstage to see how the sausage is made. It gave me a boost when I read it, so hopefully you'll appreciate how she navigates inspiration, interruption, and energy management too. You need to understand the ebb & flow of the writing process -- a pro's perspective helps.

Everyday Zen

by Charlotte Joko Beck

WTF? Why would a zen book be on the list. Well, I read a lot of stuff about zen, feng shui, and wabi-sabi, that's why. I think writing requires tapping into your personal energy. As an absolute productivity freak with an entrepreneurial addiction, I find huge benefit in finding my center in enlightenment. I will re-read this one myself in summer 2021... It's perfect for the beach.

Kitchen Confidential

by Anthony Bourdain

When it comes to blogging advice, I don't recall us ever using the word authentic. I promise you that Michael and I are not making up personas for Renegade Blogger. We're what we are (Michael is seriously serious about writing, and I'm a punk geek who writes. Anthony Bourdain puts us both to shame. Talk about a guy who cut off his nose to spite his face. Kitchen Confidential broke so many restaurant rules -- his personal stories were fascinating, but he let us in on the dirty secrets of the business (I haven't eaten brunch since I read it almost twenty years ago). Bourdain's career was 100% authentic. He was a tortured soul, traveling the globe looking to make real connections (food is a language of its own) and sharing the truth of life. This book started it all.

Deep Work

by Cal Newport

Every time I write a reading list, I have to include this book. It's imperative to focus, and after tuning in to Mr. Newport's work, you'll see how and why.

Do Yourself a Favor - Add a Classic

Grab some creative inspiration from Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler, or Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I could list out a dozen great titles, but do yourself a favor and find one of the classics you never got around to reading and take it on your vacation. I like the quick reads listed here because they all gave me fuel when I read them -- their brilliant treatment of language, foundation of characters, and ability to last long beyond their publication are filled with lessons. Jack Kerouac, Haruki Murakami, Henry Miller, Harper Lee, whoever -- just something that has withstood the test of time. It works for a reason.

Why Summer Reading is Good for Bloggers

Inspiration. Education. Distraction. Writing needs input. I never understand when writers say they don't read. I synthesize information from a thousand sources to write. My style borrows from books I read thirty years ago. My education is built from the foundation of reading built in first grade -- thanks to that library field trip where I got the library card. Summer gives us more daylight to soak up some sunshine and pass a bit of time. Use that time to inspire, educate, and distract yourself!


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