Book Review and a Giveaway

CreativeMarkNote: Congratulations to Jen from Pierced Wonderings–she’s the winner of Eric Maisel’s book, Making Your Creative Mark.

Making Your Creative Mark is Eric Maisel’s 40th book, and his 20th on working with the difficulties creative people have with their work. “Most likely you know how often you stall, block, and give up. Most likely you understand that the art marketplace is a difficult place. Most likely . . . you fret about. . .how often your discipline eludes you,” says Maisel. The nine keys in his book are his answer and solution to the common stumbling blocks artists come across.

Title: Making Your Creative Mark: Nine Keys to Achieving Your Artistic Goals

Author: Eric Maisel, Ph.D. (Therapist, creativity coach, blogger for Psychology Today magazine).

Details: Paperback, 226 pages, New World Library.

Book Chapters:

  • The Mind Key –“mind your mind” –thinking thoughts that serve your creativity
  • The Confidence Key–how confidence relates to the creative process
  • The Passion Key–how to develop the interest required to face the rigors of being creative
  • The Freedom Key–how to nurture and support a life in the arts
  • The Stress Key–how to deal with creative stress
  • The Empathy Key–how to remain aware of others on the creative path
  • The Relationship Key–how to navigate relationships in the arts
  • The Identity Key–who are you, really?
  • The Societal Key–how do you show up in your world?

What I Like: Maisel is a master at keeping you in action. If you are the list-loving, check-it-off-as-I-do-it creative, you will love Maisel’s book. (In Meyers Briggs, you are a highly expressed “J”). He gives you tips, steps, and a no-excuse approach. For many people, this is a great way to get where you are going. You focus on the goal, and then march toward it with Maisel’s ideas at hand.

He’s a clear writer. No jargon, no rambling. Maisel writes smooth, declarative sentences and this books is direct and easy to understand.

fish climbing up fish ladder. Hard work, but the only way he will get to spawning grounds.

Fish climbing up fish ladder. Hard work, but the only way he will get to spawning grounds.

Maisel is also practical and down to earth. No woo-woo, no waiting for the Universe, you build it yourself.

Along the way, Maisel gives a lot of examples that read like feature stories and make his ideas move from theory to real life situations. It helps you create a vision of the actions you could be taking.

What I don’t like: Some of the examples leave you hanging in mid-action. After three pages of reading  about Maisel coaching a reluctant and recalcitrant Marsha who is avoiding dealing with a gallery owner who likes her work, Marsha refuses to take any action and says, “I’m really difficult, aren’t I?” To this, Maisel adds, “Had we made any progress? Marsha was certainly not a changed person. . . I  would have bet that a seed was planted. . . . I had high hopes for our next meeting.”  And then we never hear about Marsha again. While it is absolutely true that many clients take a long time to take action, I’d like to hear about the coaching Maisel does that works now. Because the book expects you to behave quickly, too.

There are moments when the steps, tips, and how-to’s don’t quite answer the question (at least not for me). It’s a bit as if he were a diet coach (he’s not) and said, “Eat less, exercise more” and then tells you to eat less breakfast, eat less lunch and eat less dinner. Oh, and exercise more. I will freely admit that what I want is a little more emotion, a little more soul.

I’m not sure if my next “don’t like” is jealousy or the humility I learned as a child: By page 14, he’s mentioned three of his other books as recommended reading. I know you have to market yourself, but it made me feel slightly uncomfortable. If I like an author, I’ll immediately look up his other books on my own.

Giveaway: Leave a comment telling me you’d like to read the book, and I’ll hold a drawing on Saturday, May 25,  to give the book away.

Disclosure: Eric Maisel was my teacher when I was becoming a life coach and becoming certified as a creativity coach. I’ve read many of his books, but have over time drifted from his circle of influence as I developed my own path.

Leave a comment and form your own opinions by reading his book!

Quinn McDonald is a certified creativity coach who believes all sorts of wild things that other people don’t agree with, either.