The title of this book immediately captivated me, because I love reading anything that fosters creativity.
Women have unique obstacles to creativity, roadblocks that men don’t encounter. McMeekin says,
We continue to be stifled by a host of factors that cause us to censor our inner voices and follow someone else’s dream.
Her own journey through mazes of obstacles toward creative awakening helped her formulate a process for women to access artistic potential. In her long career as a psychotherapist, career and creativity coach, and human resources consultant, McMeekin crosses paths with amazingly artistic and creative females who have overcome obstacles to achieve greater success. She interviewed thousands of these extraordinary women and interweaves their stories with the twelve secrets they illustrate.
McMeekin suggests acquiring a beautiful notebook or journal to use while working through the book to record insights and to answer the “Challenges,” exercises she has found helpful to her clients to identify impediments and find ways around them or address life changes necessary to eliminate them. I did not actually do the challenges, but reading through them gave me glimpses of self-knowledge.
I especially found Secret #12 helpful: Planning to Achieve Your Goals. In this final chapter, McMeekin identifies five keys to achievement: deciding about sharing your creative work, setting creative goals, committing your time, tackling procrastination, and celebrating your creative power. She takes the reader through a process of reflection, helping the creator define a path to reach her potential.
McMeekin’s world view is humanistic and new age, invoking the universe. It has not escaped my attention that many creative women also ascribe to that world view. Even though I am a Christian and my world view is Christ-centered, I believe I can still learn from these women, substituting what works for me: asking God to direct my work and use it for His glory.
The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women: a Portable Mentor is especially valuable to women experiencing burnout. The steps in this book form an excellent structure for examining inner yearnings and determining a path for authentic occupation. The process is not limited to artists, musicians, and dancers, but also valid for entrepreneurs, inventors, scientists, and any woman who wants to use her unique talents and explore her interests in a meaningful way.
Men who are attuned to their feminine sides could also benefit from reading this book, though there is much other material related to creativity not limited to a single gender that men might find more palatable.
I would recommend springing for a paper copy. I read the Kindle edition, and struggled with disconnection. It took me two chapters to realize the author had interspersed her words with quotes from other creative women—in the Kindle edition, lack of formatting failed to set the quotes apart from the body of the work. Also, two worksheets, reduced to the size of one Kindle screen, were too small to read the print.
All in all, The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women: a Portable Mentor is well worth reading.
Is there a book you’ve found especially helpful in your creative pursuits? Please share in the comments below.