Audacious Creativity: 30 Ways to Liberate Your Soulful Creative Energy--and How It Can Transform Your Life Paperback – Dec 2 2008
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About the Author
Stephanie Gunning is an author, editor, and publishing consultant. Her A-list clientele includes bestselling authors (such as Gregg Braden, Hale Dwoskin, Ernest Chu, Sandy Grason, and Ruby Payne), major publishing firms (such as Hay House, McGraw-Hill, Crown, J.P. Tarcher, and Jossey-Bass), top caliber literary agencies, and innovative small presses. She has coauthored and ghostwritten sixteen books, including Whiff, Will Power, Easy Homeopathy, The Passion Principle, Total Renewal, Exploring Feng Shui, and Creating Your Birth Plan. She is the author of several audio programs on publishing, including: Seven Quick & Easy Steps to Write and Sell Your First Book Proposal, Partner with Your Publisher, Social Media for Authors, and Planning Kick-Ass Book Events. She is co-creator of the nine-week audio meditation course Nine Steps to Heaven and the popular online 30-day course Stop Thinking Now. After graduating with a B.A. from Amherst College in 1984, Gunning launched her publishing career in New York City, rapidly rising through the editorial ranks at HarperCollins Publishers, then being recruited as a senior editor at Bantam Doubleday Dell, and ultimately establishing an independent consulting practice, Stephanie Gunning Enterprises LLC, in 1996. Currently she resides in Manhattan, where in addition to her writing, she teaches teleseminars and workshops. To find out more about Ms. Gunning, and her products and services, visit: www.stephaniegunning.com.
Inside This Book(Learn More)
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Instead, I found myself transported by the essays and actually inspired to practice what the contributors suggested. Instead of feeling force-fed wisdom and sickened by the realization that I could never possibly be as perfect as the people whose stories I was reading, I felt like I engaging in a conversation with a really good friend.
One of the most profound ways I was affected by the book took place as the result of my attempt to go an entire day without talking about people behind their backs, as suggested by Reverend Allan Lokos in his essay, "The Spiritual Practice of Creativity." It astounded me that I could only last two hours before succumbing to a need to gossip. I've always considered myself to be fairly free of the need to put other people down to feel better about myself--but quickly realized in doing this exercise how much negativity comes out of me every day. It forced me to take a long, extremely hard look in the mirror and actively change the way I approach the people in my life. I will fully admit that i feel that I am a much healthier person emotionally because of what he and other contributors had to teach me.
As a young professional in New York City, I often find myself rushing from one task to the next--I'm so rushed and focused on the needs of others, that when it comes time for me to tap into my own creativity, I feel confused and uncertain of my own creative potential. It can sometimes take me several hours before I'm able to get myself in the proper mind frame to fling open my figurative creative gates and be comfortable letting what's inside of me flow out into physical reality. It's not easy to find comfort in just being you--letting all of the expectations and needs of others fade into the background--but the contributors in this anthology help you to realize how absolutely necessary indulging in your creativity is to your emotional health.
I consider myself lucky to have received a copy of this book. It's going on my bookshelf right next to my copies of Madeleine L'Engle's books--the books that fostered my creativity as a child--as a reminder to re-read several of the essays whenever I doubt my capability to be an audacious creator in my own right.
author, NY Times Bestseller, I Love You More
1. In "Surprise Me," Stephanie Gunning herself contributes her sense of working with creative people in her world of publishing.
2. In "Solomon's Story," David Ellzey recounts a telling moment when the impact of our creativity is real, personal, and life-affirming in the face of death itself.
3. In "The Spiritual Practice of Creativity," Rev. Allan Lokos presents a method of daily practice to achieve inner peace, happiness, and equanimity.
4. In "Chariot of Fire, Field of Grace," Paulette Callendescribes faith-filled experiences of creative artists that differ sharply from systems of belief.
5. In "The Creative Voice --- A Bridge Between the Tangible and Intangible," Catherine Scott tells of her own dancing across the creative bridges of life from one "Aha!" moment to the next.
6. In "Echoivity," Martine Bellen shows how writers listen for the sounds of stories echoing across the centuries and how those writers who listen will catch their retelling in our own times.
7. In "We Make It All Up Anyway...Might As Well Make It Up Good!" Laura Duksta tells highlights of her background leading to her New York Times best-selling book, I Love You More.
8. In "How 'Positive' Is Positive Thinking?" Robert and Michelle Colt explore the consequences of binary and dualistic approaches to thinking positively about creativity.
9. In "Soul Currency --- Invest Your Inner Wealth," Ernest D. Chu explains how spiritual investments create more power than simple money investments.
10. In "The Wizard Within," C. Russell Brumfield discusses five pre-conditions to creative fulfillment in life and work.
11. In "The Language of A Free Soul," Reverend Susanna Weiss weaves the languages of spirituality and creativity together to see how they want to be completed in each other.
12. In "Mapping Dreams, Creating Reality," Paige Stapleton gives examples from her own experiences of the power of creating and displaying Life Maps.
13. In "Ten Guaranteed Ways to Stifle Creativity," Kim Marcille discloses ten secrets that will doom one's creative efforts.
14. In "Are You Pregnant? Five Ways to Get That Labor Over Quickly and Give Birth to Your Possibilities," Sandy Grayson shares birthing tips for those stuck in the waiting room.
15. In "Want to Write Like Mozart?" Janet Conner shows us how to get our sleepy, unconscious mind to give up its part in our work of creation.
16. In "Inspiration, Desperation, and Curiosity Beget Creativity," Carol Hoenig explains how exploring questions, even in desperate times, yields creative results.
17. In "Creativity Rising," Maria Yraceburu speaks to us of storytelling and how creativity rises through the stories told and handed down.
18. In "Creating Your Ideal Life? It's Always Up to You," Howard Falco presents highlights behind his practice of Truth Serum and its revealing target and process.
19. In "Building A Better Generation," Rebecca Linder Hintz offers ten sound suggestions for parents and grandparents wondering how always to build the next generation better than the current one.
20. In "Creative Decision-Making," the writer describes a creative way to deal with the hardest activity leaders of every kind face: making decisions.
21. In "Manifesting A Healthy Life," Kathi Handt and Jay Handt, DC, set the record straight about paying attention to what our bodies do for us and why.
22. In "Be and Grow Rich," Richard Aronow summarizes seven principles of how wealth is created.
23. In "Butterflies in Winter," Ann Moller describes how she creatively became the "Butterfly Goddess" as part of her personal experience of processes of transformation.
24. In "The Write Muse-IC," Laura Faeth recounts how Rock-In-Roll music inspired her writing.
25. In "Power, Freedom, and Grace," Mary Jane Mahan reflects on real writing as the swim of your life.
26. In "The Soul and Creativity," Meg Haworth, Ph.D., reminds us of how the uniqueness of our creativity comes from each of us and our individualized souls.
27. In "Five Benefits of the Conscious Use of Voice and Music," Eliana Gilad brings to our attention dimensions of creativity that should not be overlooked.
28. In "Creativity of Life," Elaine Springer opens wide the door of creativity and encourages us to welcome its warm embrace.
29. In "Beauty and Fear," Dr. Beatrice Kraemer explores creative processes for dealing with the consequences of discovering the relationship between wanting to be admired for the beauty of contributions and being afraid to contribute for fear of being devalued by criticism.
30. In "For the Love of It," Jeff Fasano snaps a picture in words of pursuing his creative dreams of becoming a professional photographer.
Many of the contributors to this book appear to be influenced by Eastern approaches to the field of creativity and employ those ideas in their own observations. Making time to intentionally listen to our intuition and connect with the creative inside of us appears to be the thread that delicately strings these 30 pieces together. It is also a technique used in both Taoist and Zen Buddhist meditation. In fact, it was during a meditation session that Gunning was inspired to compile this creation!
Gunning explains that the title of the book was prompted by her recognition that it takes courage to be a bold and lively creator. Out of the 30 entries offered in Audacious Creativity, I found about half of them to contain helpful insights for me personally. I believe that another reader might glean something useful from different sections than I did, based on personal preferences. For example, when I substituted the word health for wealth in Richard Aronow's piece, his creation challenge to be and grow rich became meaningful to me. Below are some of the nuggets of wisdom that I found particularly insightful with regard to creativity.
Several models developed by contributors closely parallel the stages of Osborn-Parnes Creative Problem Solving process:
* Katherine Scott's position that all living beings have a creative voice that is uniquely their own has led her to outline the steps of the creative dance.
* C. Russell Brumfield throws a little quantum physics into the mix and shares his take on the conditions necessary for true creative potential to be reached: concept, definition, inspiration, desire, and expectation.
* Sandy Grason draws an analogy for giving birth to creative ideas from intention to action.
* John Darrouzet offers 12 milestones for creative decision-making, which is an interesting interpretation of a hero's journey, although I disagree with his assertion that not all leaders are creative.
Some contributors present specific applications that can be carried out by the reader seeking audacious creativity.
* Laura Duksta offers two exercises for creating a new, inspiring world for yourself by making up a story that serves you, as opposed to clinging to one that stops you, and by clearing the negative energy from a situation that is bringing you down. That second exercise helps you see how a person or experience that has caused you pain can actually help you learn and grow.
* Paige Stapleton's life mapping exercise offers a guide to help you begin creating your vision.
Many of the writers for this book offer inspiring reflections on creative thinking.
* Paulette Callen's observation that doing something to your fullest capability (whatever that creative work looks like for you) takes preparation and gives meaning to your life in ways that few other things do.
* Susanna Weiss reminds you that your own certainty can be one of the biggest blocks to our creativity, because people can always discover something new.
* Kathi and Jay Handt remark that taking care your body is a foundation to helping you create a life that is worth living to the fullest.
* Beatrice Kraemer's good advice for creatives provides an eloquent ending to the book: "The more I practice being curious, the bigger my curiosity gets."
This is a book based on personal experiences shared as anecdotes - it is not founded on research or contemporary theories in creative studies. Several of the contributors' philosophies do parallel some of the research in the field of creativity, but readers who are seeking scientific evidence of audacious creativity will be disappointed. A brief biography of each contributor is provided at the end of the book to share their credentials and to lead the reader to websites or other books penned by the authors. For me, this did not enhance the credibility of the book, but helped me to appreciate the perspective the writers were coming from. This book is certainly worth at least a skim, and I will keep it on my shelf to refer to on those days when I need to feel emboldened!