These Are A Few Of My Favourite Books

Ah, social media challenges – love them or loathe them, you’re not immune to them! Unless, of course, you’re not on social media. (Awkward)

One of my favourite recent challenges is to “List 10 books that have impacted you”. I secretly hoped someone would tag me, and I was not disappointed. My good friend Deevs, who is a revolutionary, Hillsong College training, Jesus loving hippie, nominated me to share my book list.

You know you have those out-of-the-box thinking friends who, anything they recommend, you immediately want to see/read/discover for yourself? Yeah, that’s Deevs. I was delighted she had tagged me – firstly because I was curious to read her list, and secondly because I was excited to create my own. Thanks to her book list, I’ve added a few more to my “want to read” list. Unsurprisingly, a couple on her list are also on mine –  can you guess which ones?!

Once I actually got down to the nitty gritty of compiling my own list, however, my excitement dwindled and was replaced with confusion and anxiety. How could I narrow it down to just ten?! Do I choose books that are meaningful for me now, or those that have been formative throughout the years (even if that meant adding a book to the list that I’d most probably hate if I were to read it now)? Maybe I should do less than 10, the very bare bones of books which have greatly impacted me. Maybe I should screw the number and add as many as I liked. I sent frantic messages to Deevs, asking for her advice and sympathy. Finally, realising that in the grand scheme of eternity, my book list is not that important, I settled on a solution – choose whatever the heck I wanted, and write explanatory notes for why I’d put these books in my top ten (with a disclaimer that these are some of the books that have impacted me, and I reserve the right to at a later date amend this list, and that there are probably books not here that should be, and so on).

So, to echo Deevs’ original post, here are my top ten books that have impacted me in some way, given in no particular order, and requesting you refrain from judgement, but welcoming you to comment and question, should you feel so led ;)

The Brain That Changes ItselfThe Brain That Changes Itself – Norman Doidge

Doidge excels in communicating the complex subject of neuroplasticity in a way that anyone can pick up and understand. Not only that, the translating of this specialised scientific topic into layman’s terms offers anyone who reads it a glimpse into the brilliance of their own mind, and gave me so much hope when I read it. I refer to this book often.

OutliersOutliers – Malcom Gladwell

Given to me by my brilliant Sociology lecturer, I came alive reading Outliers. A fascinating book about human potential. Read it.

41zdHk4XXSL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The Sacred Canopy – Elements of A Sociological Theory of Religion – Peter Berger

I discovered this book through the same lecturer, and its discussion of world construction changed the way I see the world and the individuals in it. I even wrote an essay on it.

fullprebrithHarry Potter – J. K. Rowling

When I grow up, I want to create worlds as awesome as J.K. Rowling.

41L97fT6UYL._SL500_AA300_She Who Is – Elizabeth Johnson

People make jokes about my feminist views and my quest for equality, but I felt very conservative reading She Who Is. The way I relate to God has grown as a result.

stephen king on writingOn Writing – Stephen King

A hilarious, almost autobiographical look at the world from the eyes of an author, with a lot of wisdom and constructive insight into writing. A must read for anyone who wants to be a writer.

51r6AVJWWvL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Theology for the Community of God – Stanley Grenz

Not for the faint hearted, but gives a broad overview of many Christian doctrines and differently held beliefs. This book helped me to better articulate my Christian worldview, to address areas where I had just absorbed poor theology without studying for myself, and to strengthen the building blocks of my faith.

HowtoWinFriendsandInfluencePeopleCoverHow to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

I’m a fairly socially awkward person. Learning how to win friends and influence people has helped me to be a better friend and leader.

454204_w185Why You Do The Things You Do – Tim Clinton & Gary Sibcy

I understood myself and how I relate to people in a new light after learning about attachment theories. Hopefully I am a bit more gracious and understanding with people, as I try to understand their relational model and how it impacts their interactions.

Caine_Undaunted__55936.1348965359.1280.1280I’m Not Who I Thought I Was – Christine Caine

What book list would be complete without the auto biography of my hero? I’ve learned so much from this incredible person throughout the years and hope to follow her example. She follows the narrow path. Unfortunately, this book is out of print, so good luck finding a copy. I’m not parting with mine. But you can read much of it and a lot more in a newer book, Undaunted.

Yousafzai_IAmMalalaI Am Malala – Malala Yousafzai

“When the Taliban shot Malala, they showed what they feared most: a girl with a book.” Someone give this girl the Nobel Prize already! Oh, wait…

1395693353683Evolving in Monkey Town – (now called Faith Unravelled) – Rachel Held Evans

My new favourite author and blogger. I wish we were best friends. She asks the questions of her faith that I wish I had the guts to. And she makes the world a better place.

I could keep going, but I’ll leave it there for today. Would love for you to share your top books!

Over and out xx

Three reasons why I need to be productive today

1. Get it done
If I don’t do these tasks that I’ve been diligently avoiding, a fairy won’t magically make them disappear. They’ll still be there, and I’ll be adding to my stress, knowing they’re there, knowing I do at some point need to do those tasks but I’ve still not completed them. The sooner I get it done, the sooner it disappears.

2. I don’t have time to waste
I’m ridiculously poor at managing my own time. I’m great at helping other people to manage their time, or disciplining myself when someone is paying me for my time, but when I work for myself, I tend to procrastinate and waste time, especially if it’s a difficult or boring task. It’s funny, the busier I am, the more productive I am with my spare time. Imagine if I could be that efficient from my own motivation? What could I accomplish? What could I achieve?

3. The sooner I’m finished, the sooner I can move on
Once I’ve completed these tasks, I can move on and never have to think about them again. I can reward myself with a more exciting task or a cup of tea. The sense of accomplishment I’ll feel will be worth it.

(I’m preaching to myself here folks. I’m writing this when I should be renovating.)

What if?

“What if…” questions make great writing prompts, and like the Idea Generator, can  help you to explore your imagination, or even turn into a short story or a book. I’ve given a few example questions here for you to have a go. Feel free to share your answers or some ideas for your own “what if” questions. Enjoy!

 

dark-question-2-1193475-mWhat if you found out that you were adopted?
What if you converted to another religion?
What if you were best friends with a celebrity?
What if you were part of a conspiracy theory?
What if everything you write comes true?
What if you found out that someone was planning a terrorist attack, but no-one would believe you?
What if you joined the circus?
What if you woke up one day with the ability to read minds?

N is for Notetaking

You want to write. You have a million brilliant ideas, clever sparks of inspiration. But you have a problem. All your genius ideas seem to strike when you have not the inclination or ability to develop them into their full brilliance. You meet a quirky fellow at a networking event, who, you think to yourself, would be an ideal character for your book, but you have to sit through a three-hour luncheon before you’re able to jot down his mannerisms, and by the time you get home, you are so drained from small talk and drunk from wine, that you forget you even met the man. Or, you’re having coffee with a friend, and she offers you a snippet of advice that wows you; that helps you to see clearly and you know it’s important for you to write it out and stick it on your desk, as a constant reminder. But the advice comes through her own struggle, as she pours out her heart about a recent loss. It would hardly be appropriate for you to pull out your iPhone.

How do you capture these ideas, these gems, before they slip through the cracks in your mind and are lost, potentially forever? I often think, as I take out my laptop and struggle to release even a word or two, that it is not ideas I lack; it is the net that catches them. So I’m building a net. I’m

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Copyright Jen Danger 2014

taking out my phone (when appropriate) and writing a memo to self for later. I’m carrying a notebook and pen with me when possible, and when I have a dull moment, rather than play candy crush, I’m writing the inspiration that’s all around me, if only I would learn to open my eyes and see it.

There are lots of smart ways to use technology to aid you in recording and maximising your ideas. Click here for one writer’s practical guide (that I admit is slightly over my head) on which apps to use and how to use them. I tend to just stick to pen and paper, the built-in Notes function on my phone, and my laptop, although I’m also trying out a few other apps such as Evernote, and I regularly use my WordPress app (though more for admin than ideas).

How do you capture your ideas?

 

Know Your Value

I was so excited when a couple of weeks ago a friend of mine asked me to assist her with her book project, on a paid basis. I was honoured that she’d choose to include me in her book-writing journey. I so believe in her and what she has to offer the world, and since she works in the not for profit sector, I offered to work on the project pro bono, and refused to quote her an hourly rate. She thanked me, and said maybe we’d see about that.

I’ve worked on plenty of paid projects before, some on a self-employed basis, some in-house or as part of a salaried job. I know that I’m experienced and good at what I do. But there’s always this part of me that doubts myself and what I have to offer. Sometimes, such as in situations like this one, I wonder whether it’s truly because of my generosity, and my passion to help another in their writing journey, or if it is because of self-doubt. I find myself wondering, What if they don’t like what I do? What if I missed something? What if I’m not professional enough in my approach? What if I’m too professional? What if I come across as critical? Who am I, to do this? What do I really have to offer? The questions and negative thoughts can often seem endless.

Maybe what I present as being generous and sacrificial really speaks of my vulnerability as a writer/editor. Maybe I hide behind a mask of good deeds and worthy causes, because I fear that if I place a value on my work and my service, someone might turn around and say, “You’re not worth it.”

I believe that generosity with my time and my gifting is part of my mandate, and I hope that however advanced I am in my career, I will always dedicate a portion of my time to investing into others. But I also know that I need to keep my thoughts, motivations and confidence in check. Writing can be a lonely and vulnerable journey, and if I look to others to appraise my worth, my work will reflect that.

Be confident in who you are, and what you have to offer the world. Know your value, and know that whether you decide to give your work away or put a price on it,who you are and what you give is priceless.

A Gift

Jen Danger:

My beautiful and creative genius friend Sairz just dedicated her latest piece to me 😊❤️ Have a listen!

I love sharing creativity. There is little that is more genuine, heartfelt, or personal than a gift springing from your talent and passion. Share your words, music, art, or whatever it is you have to give, with another today. Xx

Originally posted on Sarah Shah:

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Write the Blurb

Are you stuck on your latest book? Or do you have an idea for a novel inside you, but you don’t know where to start? Whatever stage of the process you’re at, a helpful exercise can be to write the blurb that would go on the back cover. You’ll need to simplify your ideas enough to clarify your structure and plot, and you’ll also find it gives you an overview to know where there might be gaps in your project. Try it! :)