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A Book for Passionate Creators + a Giveaway

Writers often talk about their muse. In fact, there are MANY articles dedicated to helping writers find their muse. (Click here, here, here, or here to see what I’m talking about.) Until last summer, I never had a problem with finding my muse so I didn’t understand what all of the fuss was about. But then life happened and I found myself unable to craft fiction, which is something I’ve enjoyed doing since I was a child.

Create Now!: A Systematic Guide to Artistic Audacity by Marlo Johnson who is an artist, author, and consultant for creatives. I use it every time I sit down to do my fiction writing. It’s been the kick in the pants I needed to get my muse back. Create Now is divided into four phases:

  1. becoming a clear conduit
  2. creation and completion
  3. sharing your work
  4. receiving payment

Each phase is broken into several steps, each of which begins with a question you must answer in order to obtain guidance and encouragement to move along to the next step (or phase) until your project is complete.

Click on the image to view my mission statement.
Click on the image to view my mission statement.

One of the first things Johnson suggests, if you’re lacking vision about what you’re going to create, is to write a mission statement. It took me awhile to craft my mission statement, but once I did, it provided me with a clear direction for the kind of writing I wanted to accomplish. In addition, once I created my mission statement, I printed it off and posted it in my home office so I can refer to it every time I sit down to craft fiction writing.

Johnson provides realistic advice for times when you feel your work just plain sucks. For instance, when someone is fearing the end of a project because it “sucks” or “I suck,” Johnson offers the following advice:

Click on the image to enlarge this excerpt from Create Now!: A Systematic Guide to Artistic Audacity by Marlo Johnson, published by Chronicle Books 2016.
Click on the image to enlarge this excerpt from Create Now!: A Systematic Guide to Artistic Audacity by Marlo Johnson, published by Chronicle Books 2016.

Her advice is direct and spot-on. You cannot move forward with a project if you think it sucks.

To that end, Johnson talks to readers like Iwould expect a well-meaning friend or mentor to talk to me. She asks pointed questions and makes suggestions page-after-page.  For instance, in phase four, Johnson asks:

Do you feel grateful for what you already have? Do you appreciate what you have already gained in creating and sharing your work (2016, 81)?

There are three possible answers: yes, somewhat, and no. If one answers no, this is the response Johnson provides:

If you aren’t happy with what you already have, will getting more things make you feel any better? Could you be creating the illusion of lack with your attitude of ingratitude? Access your higher creativity to explore these general ideas on some paper. Vent about any feelings of lack or deprivation. Then, see if you can find anything in life to appreciate. Make a list of at least ten things you are grateful for and then continue to step 3 (2016, 83).

On the next page, she asks “Do you place the proper value on yourself?” Here’s what you can expect to read:

Click on the image to enlarge this excerpt from Create Now!: A Systematic Guide to Artistic Audacity by Marlo Johnson, published by Chronicle Books 2016.
Click on the image to enlarge this excerpt from Create Now!: A Systematic Guide to Artistic Audacity by Marlo Johnson, published by Chronicle Books 2016.

That kind of advice is on-par with going to a therapist. If you are lacking someone you trust to tell-it-like-it-is in your creative life, then Johnson (or, rather, her book) will make for an excellent companion on your creative journey.

Johnson’s tips for working through the creative process can be scaled-down and taught to student writers. Many students need guidance formulating a writing process and feeling good about themselves as writers. Create Now! is the kind of book teachers can use to help coach self-doubting writers into writers who have greater confidence.

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION:

  • This giveaway is for a copy of Create Now!: A Systematic Guide to Artistic Audacity by Marlo Johnson.  Many thanks to Chronicle Books for donating a copy for one reader. 
  • For a chance to win this copy of Create Now!: A Systematic Guide to Artistic Audacity, please leave a comment about this post by Friday, February 19th at 11:59 p.m. EST. I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winners, whose names I will announce at the bottom of this post, by Sunday, February 21st. 
    • Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment, so I can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win.  From there, my contact at Chronicle Books will ship your book out to you.  (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the e-mail field only.)
  • If you are the winner of the book, I will email you with the subject line of TWO WRITING TEACHERS – CREATE NOW. Please respond to my e-mail with your mailing address within five days of receipt. Unfortunately, a new winner will be chosen if a response isn’t received within five days of the giveaway announcement.

Comments are now closed. Thank you to everyone who left a comment on this post. Barbara Suter’s commenter number was chosen using a random number generator so she’ll receive a copy of Create Now! Here’s what she wrote:

The idea of creating a mission statement on paper is a powerful one. It’s like visualizing what you want to become, and then getting down to work on it with more focus. My favorite mentor/inspiration is Julia Cameron who wrote The Artist’s Way and many, many other books about sparking your own creativity. Her inspiring ideas wrapped in her heartfelt, lovely words changed my life. Thank you for sharing.

Stacey Shubitz View All

Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.

29 thoughts on “A Book for Passionate Creators + a Giveaway Leave a comment

  1. What a valuable resource this will be. The excerpts give insight into what I’m doing right as well as a gentle push to get going when I’m not on track. Thanks for sharing this recommendation!

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  2. The idea of creating a mission statement on paper is a powerful one. It’s like visualizing what you want to become, and then getting down to work on it with more focus. My favorite mentor/inspiration is Julia Cameron who wrote The Artist’s Way and many, many other books about sparking your own creativity. Her inspiring ideas wrapped in her heartfelt, lovely words changed my life. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  3. Oops – I have to do this again since I didn’t leave an email.I love the idea of this book! Just this morning I was thinking about the need to find some way to motivate myself to keep going with my writing that keeps getting stalled by self-doubt!

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  4. I love the idea of this book! Just this morning I was thinking about the need to find some way to motivate myself to keep going with my writing that keeps getting stalled by self-doubt!

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  5. I giggled as I read through your post because it sounds like a therapy session. Then I stood back and said to myself, ” Yes, YES, YES!”

    It’s a must read for my upcoming break. If I don’t win a copy, I will certainly purchase it. Thank you for always providing us with great resources!

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  6. I am in the middle of anther book on creativity, and I have become disappointed in it. Maybe this one will be more of what I am looking for. I love the idea of a mission statement too. Thanks for sharing this and thanks to Chronicle Books for donating a copy to give away.

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  7. I was just looking at the Artists Way this morning. Your post reminded me of it but more focused towards the whole writing process. I would love to read it. I could use a good kick in the pants right now with my fiction piece.

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  8. Stacy, I love book recommendations, but ones about developing your creativity are few and far between. Thanks for this tip. Can’t wait to check out this interesting book.

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  9. I love the idea of having three choices when I sit down to create. I have felt all three emotions, particularly the one about self-worth. This is an uplifting book that will help me push through the resistance I create for myself! Thank you for introducing me to this book!

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  10. Oh, my! Stacy, as I read your blog I was getting really excited about this book and about halfway through decided I would order a copy, and that I wanted to post a comment to say “Thank you!” for the recommendation. When I got to the bottom and learned of the giveaway, it made the process all the more fun. One way or another, this book is in my future, and I do appreciate you sharing it. Have a wonderful, inspired day!

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