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The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women

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Sparked by her own long search for inspiration in her life and work, Gail McMeekin has worked closely with some the contemporary world's most creative women in her guide to maximizing creative energy. Over 50 of these dynamic women share their secrets to success. Through a series of interviews and conversations, the author noticed recurring themes which she refined into 12 Sparked by her own long search for inspiration in her life and work, Gail McMeekin has worked closely with some the contemporary world's most creative women in her guide to maximizing creative energy. Over 50 of these dynamic women share their secrets to success. Through a series of interviews and conversations, the author noticed recurring themes which she refined into 12 practices any woman can use to clear obstacles, transcend the ordinary and harness her creative power.


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Sparked by her own long search for inspiration in her life and work, Gail McMeekin has worked closely with some the contemporary world's most creative women in her guide to maximizing creative energy. Over 50 of these dynamic women share their secrets to success. Through a series of interviews and conversations, the author noticed recurring themes which she refined into 12 Sparked by her own long search for inspiration in her life and work, Gail McMeekin has worked closely with some the contemporary world's most creative women in her guide to maximizing creative energy. Over 50 of these dynamic women share their secrets to success. Through a series of interviews and conversations, the author noticed recurring themes which she refined into 12 practices any woman can use to clear obstacles, transcend the ordinary and harness her creative power.

30 review for The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women

  1. 4 out of 5

    Webfrau

    I gave this book 2 stars on the basis that it has some good quotes in that I liked but overall I didn't find it helpful or useful in any way. It's just not my style, far too "new age" and "touchy feely' for my liking. It really is a huge compilation of anecdotes from creative women but really they're just snippets of their experiences without showing any significant depth to the way they dealt with them or any real point. Maybe I just missed the point?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Gloria

    Nothing new here that one hasn't heard already. (Make time, make space, etc.) Cool quotes in the margins of the pages-- but otherwise, it rapidly became one of those books you "scan" through.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    I am currently re-reading/re-viewing this book. With special attention to "Secret 3" ... Following Your Fascination. It is basic but essential to have affirmation in the midst of creative pursuits. Quoting from 37: "It takes courage to follow your fascinations, wherever they may lead. Yet, creativity demands that you trust and stay on the path despite obstacles. The good news is that it's possible." This chapter presents "Taking Courageous Risks" ... being willing to try and fail as part of the I am currently re-reading/re-viewing this book. With special attention to "Secret 3" ... Following Your Fascination. It is basic but essential to have affirmation in the midst of creative pursuits. Quoting from 37: "It takes courage to follow your fascinations, wherever they may lead. Yet, creativity demands that you trust and stay on the path despite obstacles. The good news is that it's possible." This chapter presents "Taking Courageous Risks" ... being willing to try and fail as part of the creative process; finding the balance between being carefree and careless. Surrendering to Creative Cycles, p. 62 — "Letting go and seeing what we're really drawn to fertilizes the creative process, and finally the next step appears."

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mary Radmacher

    when my friend shared this book with me last summer...last summer when i was doing a creative juggling act between large numbers of unrelated projects...she suggested this book might help me. guess what? it did! first of all - the parts of my self that i saw reflected in the patterns identified in gail's book lifted my spirits and validated what i knew. hey! whatyda know? and then...there was a ton of stuff that these smart women model that i took the lead from. excellent for any creative lass w when my friend shared this book with me last summer...last summer when i was doing a creative juggling act between large numbers of unrelated projects...she suggested this book might help me. guess what? it did! first of all - the parts of my self that i saw reflected in the patterns identified in gail's book lifted my spirits and validated what i knew. hey! whatyda know? and then...there was a ton of stuff that these smart women model that i took the lead from. excellent for any creative lass who is wondering how...to get it started or (more to the point) how to get it all done.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Juliezs

    This was a great book that I got a lot out of. There were a lot of ideas in here that I've encountered in other reading, but this was like an in-depth seminar in a book. Really good prompts and questions to ask yourself and write about. I would recommend it to any woman that is struggling with making the change from being a creative person to being a creative businessperson. Very practical advice, with real-woman interviews and ideas from women in different fields, arts, writing, etc.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I read this book in tandem with "How to Think Like a Millionaire" -- it was an intention meets creativity combo! "12 Secrets" is a book about women tapping into their authenticity and utilizing their creative forces. If you really do not know where to start, this book is an excellent guide/workbook. Otherwise, this book is simply another reminder on actualizing your best self.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    There are many helpful things in this book for women whether they think they are creative or not. It's probably no small coincidence that I finish the book today and also quit my full-time job which has been a "Serenity stealer" for me as mentioned in the book haha

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne McElvaney

    I loved the format. The quotes. The encouragement.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I've been reading the book "the 12 secrets of highly creative women: a portable mentor" by Gail McMeekin; MJF Books, New York, 2000 (ISBN 1-56731-416-3) and I found a few passages that really meant a lot to me in this book, so I wanted to write them down formyself and for my Goodreads friends too. Typing mistakes are probably mine. "In Janet Hagberg's enlivening book, Wrestling with Angels: A Spiritual Journey to Great Writing, she calls great writing "soul writing." Interestingly, she believes I've been reading the book "the 12 secrets of highly creative women: a portable mentor" by Gail McMeekin; MJF Books, New York, 2000 (ISBN 1-56731-416-3) and I found a few passages that really meant a lot to me in this book, so I wanted to write them down formyself and for my Goodreads friends too. Typing mistakes are probably mine. "In Janet Hagberg's enlivening book, Wrestling with Angels: A Spiritual Journey to Great Writing, she calls great writing "soul writing." Interestingly, she believes that wrestling with the angel who holds the key to our brilliance is often more challenging than embracing the critic. She says, "Wrestling with our angel involves spirituality of the writing process: discovering how our shadow blocks our writing, experiencing the gift of great and courageous writing, and giving writing a sacred place in our lives. When we begin wrestling with our angels, we discover our own dark shadows, the hidden parts of ourselves that sabotage us and hinder our writing process. We understand how our own woundedness is a step in our journey to wholeness." Janet and I talked about how her words ring true for all creative journeys. By owning our wounds, we can move beyond them. When her own demons show up, Janet goes for a walk because, as she says, "My demons don't like fresh air." Janet has gotten to know one of her demons, the one she calls Rude, intimately. As Janet says, "He's an old, gruff-looking, long-bearded Scandinavian type. He's the mythology for my upbringing. He exudes the stern never-be-vulnerable-always-be-strong and never-let-anybody-know-that-you're-a-human-being persona. He's a tough-guy Viking. When he bothers me, I send him to clean files. I also bump into a lot of Rudes out the world, and he helps me understand that they may be rude on the outside but they're little kids on the inside who need a lot of love and support. So I'm less afraid of being afraid as I learn how to deal with them." " (p. 101) "Challenge: Positive Priorities Visualization (Note: You may want to record this exercise on audiotape or have a trusted friend read it to you very slowly to get its full benefit.) Find a quiet place where you will be undisturbed. Get comfortable, close your eyes, and relax. Imagine your body melting into marshmallow fluff. Just let go and listen to your thougts and feelings as they float through your mind. Imagine doing wonderful creative work you love, having peak experiences in your life, living out your goals, and relishing simply being. Picture yourself in mutual loving relationships, having fun with friends, living in your dream house, and enjoying the days of your life. Imagine feeling a balance between peacefulness and the excitement of new challenges and learning. Assume that the right amount of money is available to you. Let your fantasies speak to you. All your negatives are gone, so you have a blank screen on which to create the life you were meant to live. Notice any limiting beliefs that tell you that you can't have what you want and let them vanish. Keep visualizing the essence of what you wish to initiate in your life. When the ideas stop flowing, come back to the present, and write down all of the Positive Priorities you can remember. Preserve the ideas that you have captured in your notebook. Repeat this exercise regularly to update your desires. Over time, by adding your personal Positive Priorities, one at a time, your life experience will move closer to your vision. Each step forward is a catalyst for refinement." (p. 180-181) "Negative beliefs can haunt you and paralyze your creative expression. Beliefs like the notion that you have to have a secure full-time job in order to survive financially or that no one will appreciate your work destroy the trust between you and your inner knowing." (p. 194) .

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey Duncan

    Liberally filled with thoughtful quotations and illustrative stories, this book tackles the subject of making space in your life to pursue creativity - in terms of time, physical space, mental energy, privacy and many other aspects. Although the author asserts that the contents apply to anyone who wants to access their creativity, the book's slant and the lion's share of the miniature biographies focus on women who pursue creative work as a career. Still, I think it can be validly helpful for th Liberally filled with thoughtful quotations and illustrative stories, this book tackles the subject of making space in your life to pursue creativity - in terms of time, physical space, mental energy, privacy and many other aspects. Although the author asserts that the contents apply to anyone who wants to access their creativity, the book's slant and the lion's share of the miniature biographies focus on women who pursue creative work as a career. Still, I think it can be validly helpful for those who "merely" want to have a hobby ... but you may feel a little pressured by the end of the book. It's hard to provide an objective analysis of this book because the subject matter is deeply personal and intrinsically dependent on one's internal beliefs about the societal pressures on women and the creative process, so I feel I should put my biases up first. When it came to the societal elements, I felt that the book verged on a radical feminist perspective in some places, and this made a little skeptical of the contents. As far the creative, I think there's a certain New Age view of creativity as something sacred and exalted, and I've never been totally comfortable with this formalized, almost religious reverence for it. I think to improve the quality of what you create, you also have to treat it as a craft and even (sometimes) a science, and refusing to take creativity down off this spiritual pedestal hampers that. Some of what is presented in this book is common sense ... but often, common sense isn't, and it's a rare book that can show you something that you knew all along, present it in a new light, and make you see the significance of it. I had that experience multiple times reading The 12 Secrets, particularly the chapter about fallow periods. I was not so sure about the underlying message that the universe will provide and that persistence and belief will bring you to the right path. I thought that the stories offered throughout didn't provide enough assessment or discussion of what happens when an endeavor falls through. Too many of them seemed to involve serendipity, and I found my inner skeptic piping up. What about those of us who don't have fortunate coincidences? I would have loved to see a cautionary tale about someone who invested too much and went awry. For me, this would have strengthened the inspirational tales and lent validity to them, not subtracted it. For me, this book happened to come at the right time and proved to be very powerful. It helped me center myself in a mental transition period, and I'm very grateful for it. I do question, however, whether it's a book for all people at all times - but maybe there's something to the synchronicity I just criticized. So maybe I should say that if you're just casually curious, this book may not be for you, but if its premise somehow speaks to you ... read it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Joy

    Since owning this book for a few years, I find I pick it up for a "pick me up". There are good anecdotes and a positive vibe from creative individuals. However, there are times I feel I am talked down to or, how can I put it, the creatives who strongly exert the belief that everyone can survive with their creativity alone are well-off. Or, they are a chosen lot. I would say there are 5 out of the 12 that are true secrets, the ones highly creative people can find useful. If I could make jewelry al Since owning this book for a few years, I find I pick it up for a "pick me up". There are good anecdotes and a positive vibe from creative individuals. However, there are times I feel I am talked down to or, how can I put it, the creatives who strongly exert the belief that everyone can survive with their creativity alone are well-off. Or, they are a chosen lot. I would say there are 5 out of the 12 that are true secrets, the ones highly creative people can find useful. If I could make jewelry all day, I would. It's just that it needs to support my life. That is no secret.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Heike

    2016 It is a feel good book full of feel good quotes and stories, but there was nothing in depth or specific enough to be actually helpful. Disappointed. 2020 I re-read this book this spring during the COVID19 quarantine with a different mindset. And while I still didn’t find it outstanding I did get more out of it this time. It is more oriented towards creativity in a career sense, but I think I may have gleaned some helpful tips this time. I updated my rating by one star.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Connolly

    I read this book, along with two others, in a creativity workshop, and this one was my favorite. I found it really inspiring to hear from so many creative voices included here, and it was helpful in getting me motivated to tap into my own creativity. You can read my full review and about my experience in the workshop on my bloghere: http://melissaconnolly.blogspot.com/2.... I read this book, along with two others, in a creativity workshop, and this one was my favorite. I found it really inspiring to hear from so many creative voices included here, and it was helpful in getting me motivated to tap into my own creativity. You can read my full review and about my experience in the workshop on my bloghere: http://melissaconnolly.blogspot.com/2....

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dora

    A book that lives up to its title I think that this book is worth the price if only for the last two chapters: how to deal with serenity stealers and how to set goals. The rest of the book contains great information as well but these two chapters resonated most with me. Although this book was marketed to women and all the examples come from women's lives, I still think that the information is useful for all genders.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Neale

    Many "how-to" books about the creative life easily assist procrastination, but this book should be at the bedside of every woman, young and old. I immediately decided to order a few copies to give as gifts to my women friends. Along with many profound quotes and candid anecdotes, there are exercises that challenge women to fulfill realistic dreams.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alexis

    If we are created to create, it tells me we recognize a Creator. This books seems to push towards absolute “so whatever it takes to be a successful creator” when in all actuality it translates into destroy all relationships if that’s what you need to do to create. I will admit that there were insightful tidbits throughout the text.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    This book is inspiring straight from the top. There are challenges throughout the book that I'm working through, slowly (which is why I can manage reading this book and two other books at the same time!) Growth takes time, ya kno?

  18. 5 out of 5

    Gina

    This book was pretty good. It was full of writing exercises and great quotations about the creative process. It seemed like pretty much anyone would be able to gain something from this book; it's not applicable just for a certain group of women.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Therese Gilardi

    i really like this book - the 12 secrets are very clever. i enjoyed how open the interviewees were, and the poetry thrown in to the book near the end. the only small complaint i would have is that the typeset was a bit off which i found distracting.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Melany

    some good ideas for any left brainer.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

    Inspiring stories make me want to pick up the pen, brush and guitar.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    This is pretty darn engaging...seems to be many usable exercises for all kinds of creative "situations".

  23. 4 out of 5

    Anke

    I love this book and the challenges in it are really great........so my rating, thumps up!!!!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    So far, VERY inspiring.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Krissy

    A good read while I was young! Although perhaps hard to stick with, this book has great points when you need encouragement! Great read for mothers and their daughters!

  26. 5 out of 5

    amy gretchen

    I liked it and found some great quotes, but I was really hoping it would be more original. I feel like if you've read one book about finding your creative self you've read this.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    This book was not as helpful as I had hoped.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I flipped through this and decided it was too self-helpy, never even left the library.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Harac-Hardy

    --Interesting to read about other women's creative hurdles---I could relate to many of the shared stories.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Danita

    This book is an excellent book for encouraging creative women to empower themselves with strength to become successful in their profession.

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