Book Review: “Inspiring Creativity: An Anthology of Powerful
Insights and Practical Ideas to Guide You to Successful Creating”
Once upon a time you were either born creative or you weren’t. The whole world was guilty of assuming that
people who did menial or repetitive jobs did not have the creative gene and yet most everybody is creative
For many years I struggled to convince business leaders that every single person working for them was capable
of creative thought. All they needed was the encouragement and the environment to demonstrate their ability
to be unique. Sadly not everyone was convinced. Rick Benzel has compiled a set of stimulating essays in “Inspiring
Creativity: An Anthology of Powerful Insights and Practical Ideas to Guide You to Successful Creating” that
I wish I had access to back then.
Rick Benzel is a creativity coach, author and co-author of a string of self-help books including “Aha!
10 Ways to Free Your Creative Spirit and Find Your Great Ideas”. He has brought together some of the
best brains in the business to provide the stimulus and to remove the barriers to effective creativity. His
own piece ” Getting Unstuck: Nine Ways to Escape from Creativity-Halting Goo” is a précis
of the many sabotages that we play on ourselves.
The other contributors are all professional coaches and experts in the field of creativity. Their coaching
stories are divided into six categories leading the reader gently through the process of taking a spark of
an idea right through to the higher plains of super-creativity.
“Mining Creative Gold: Fifteen Ways to Find Your Mother Lode” is a piece by Deborah Bouziden, a
full-time writer and a marketing adviser to writers of all shades. Suzanne R. Roy contributed the piece entitled “Igniting
a Creative Spark Within: How to Establish Creative Focus”. Her specialism in creativity is in dealing
with the critical process issues like how to get started, how to focus and how to keep on track. Roy’s forte
is the written word but the guidelines are appropriate in any field.
“Seeking Liminality: Making the Most of Threshold Experiences” is written by Cherryl Moote who is
a calligrapher, bookbinder and paper artist and has written many books on these creative subjects. Liminality
is, in fact, a state of limbo which you would expect creative types to avoid but Moote encourages you to
recognize it as a building block in the creative process.
As a studio artist, Laura Cater-Woods is at the forefront of fine arts. In “Balancing Acts: Walking the
Tightrope between Your Creative Path and Daily Life” she identifies the benefits and the pitfalls of
leading a creative life. The same theme is picked up in “Warts and All: A User’s Guide to Living a Creative
Life” by Christine Francis. She recognizes that living in this way can lead to getting everything else
out of balance, including caring for the creator.
Limitations to creativity can sometimes be more than having a dry day. Louise E. Sawyer normally works with
those who are blocked through chronic illness, disability, family stress, childhood experiences or work pressure
and stress. “Creativity Challenges for Persons with Chronic Illness: How to Thrive, Not Just Survive
When You Want to Create” reflects Sawyer’s experiences as a creativity coach for such clients.
Danny Mallinder specializes in funneling creative ideas to get the most from them. In “Profit from Your
Creativity: Turning Your Passion into a Profitable Business” he demonstrates how it is possible.
Our education systems can sometimes systematically drum creativity out of us to make us “useful”. “Self-Appreciation:
How to STAR in Your Own Life!” is Beverly R. Down’s call to everyone to start being human. It’s OK to
make mistakes and have fun!
Prashant Ziskind reminds us that there are no guarantees in the creative world but that the title of his piece, “Writing
Your Own Pages: The Art of Living Creatively” is actually what makes us truly alive.
Techniques to tap into creativity are tackled by Nancy Manocherian and Dru Simms in “Writing the Memoir:
A Creative Opportunity for Self-Expression” and “Drinking at the Well of Creativity: The Case for
Collage as a Personal Practice”. Meditation is also suggested by Briana Riskin in “Creativity and
Your Inner Guide: Connecting to Your Power Within”. All three share a belief that if you are achieving
your creative goals you will end up being healthier.
Taking a completely lateral view in “Life Around Us, Life Within Us: Finding Our Creative Selves in Nature” is
Pamela Burke who determines that what attracts us to nature reveals our creative purpose.
Michael Mahoney’s piece deals with the presumption that we are all destined to achieve a purpose in this life. “The
Hero Within: Using the Mythic Journey to Discover Meaning in your Creative Work” explains how our hero’s
journey should be as significant as it can be.
In “Of Flying Monkeys and Modern Day Muses: Who You Gonna Call?” by Jill Badonsky and “Get
BeMused: How to Find Yourself a Creative Muse in the Unlikeliest of Places” by Kaylen Bennett, both
creativity coaches expound the benefits of having a respected third party to kick start you when you start
cruising in neutral and need help with creativity and the creative process.
“Inspiring Creativity” is an Alladin’s Cave of useful tips, pointers, wisdom, humor and a damn good
kick in the pants for just about everyone looking for creativity support tools. Excuse me while I just check
out my Hero’s Journey.