Book: Kick-Ass Creativity by Mary Beth Maziarz
When I first saw this book on a blog last winter, I was very excited – an energy makeover was exactly what I needed, especially after powering through a multi-year graduate program in less than a year!
The book is divided into two sections – All About the Energy and Kick-Ass Creativity in Real Life. The first section explores what energy is, why it matters, and how it affects us. Some readers might find the language here a bit new age-y but it focuses on being aware of our energy and how to shift it if it’s unproductive. In my opinion, the real meat of the book comes in part two where the focus is on the practical application of that energy, including resources, how to work through kinks, and action paths. Each chapter concludes with exercises and/or questions to help further examine how the material discussed applies.
I’ll admit that the first part of the book initially bogged me down. I think I was resisting the idea that I could be responsible for my energy and insecure with the thought that I had something unique to offer. That seemed like a lot of responsibility! After several months had passed, I started the book over and things made a lot more sense. If you pick up this book and find the first section is weighing you down, I’d suggest skipping ahead. By the time I hit the second half of the book, I felt like I was speeding along, desperate to take it all in. The specifics discussed here are less of the other-worldly nature and more of the practical, day-to-day nature.
Some important bits:
“Life feels lacking because we are capable of more but not sure how to begin.”
So true! The first section gives some great ideas for unblocking creativity and shifting our energy. I’ve already used several of their methods, including energy shifting (by focusing on “well, at least…” or “this is better!” thoughts) and writing to and around my creative blocks. Writing out my blocking thoughts is how I finally figured out the basic structure for the book I’m writing.
Zafod said “You can do anything but you can’t do everything.”
Well said, Zafod, whoever you are! If we focus and prioritize, we CAN do that anything.
We must have tools to attack unproductive states (feeling overwhelmed, procrastination, and fear) and tackle our enemy (blocks and dry spells).
Are you ready for your success?
Chapter thirteen may be the best of the book – I like to call this the Oprah chapter. If you received a call that Oprah wanted to interview you on her show this afternoon, would you be ready? Do you have business cards? What about a website? Are you in desperate need of a haircut? Are you ready to discuss yourself and your project? Basically, if you are presented with an amazing opportunity, are you prepared to take advantage of it? I was shocked to realize how many ways I was sabotaging myself before I had even started.
Overall, I thought this was a good book and I envision a re-read at some point. I know I’ll be going back to some of the exercises and revisiting parts of section two. Some readers will find it more useful than others based on the amount of time dedicated to the idea of energy but I still feel it’s a useful book (especially the second part) for all creatives, regardless of medium.
Be sure to let us know if you decide to check it out!