I own a lot of how-to writing books. Seriously. Enough of them that when I recently had my floors redone, one of the workman noticed asked, "Who's the writer in the house?"
So trust me when I say that even though the content of many writing books is helpful, the layout and design tends to be boring, boring, boring! When I heard that there was a new writing book that included coloring pages, I knew I had to get my hands on it.
About the Book
Creative Visualization for Writers by Nina Amir features 100+ exercises and prompts to spark new writing ideas and give you a creative boost. It's published by Writer's Digest, which publishes many top-notch writing books. The book is divided in five sections: Self-Exploration, Vision, Goals, Creativity, and Focus. The book includes a section of fifteen coloring pages at the back of the book, plus more than twenty affirmation pages. It's a workbook style book with space throughout for you to jot your own thoughts and make your own drawings. For that reason, you might prefer the ebook version so that you can print out copies of the pages as needed and use them again and again along your journey as an artist.
Nina Amir is the author of several books related to writing, including How to Blog a Book, The Author Training Manual, and The Write Nonfiction NOW! Guide to Writing and Publishing Articles. She has a background in journalism and psychology.
What I Liked Best
- While the focus of this book is on writers, much of the advice applies to artists of all types who struggle with creating a clear vision, setting goals, and persisting despite obstacles and failures.
For example, instead of brainstorming "20 ways to promote your book," you could easily brainstorm 20 ways to promote your Etsy shop, upcoming art exhibit, or new line of jewelry.
- This is not a one-time read. It's the kind of book that you can open at random for inspiration or read specific sections about the challenges you are currently facing. There's a detailed table of contents in the front and a great keyword index at the back to help you pinpoint the right pages.
Here are a few headings from the table of contents that caught my attention: What's Your Big Why?, Visualize "Done," Stay on Purpose!, and Take a Daydream Break.
- The book includes inspirational quotes both in the text and highlighted artistically on single pages. I liked that there were a range of quotes from business and sales experts such as Stephen Covey and Zig Ziglar and creative types such as artist Pablo Picasso and dancer Twyla Tharp.
Here's one quote that I hadn't heard before from motivational author Brendon Burchard, "Amplifying what is great within you will accelerate your life faster than fixing what you think 'limits' you."
- The author describes a mix of familiar and unfamiliar advice and tips. Some worked for me; some didn't. This is to be expected. Everyone is unique and different strategies will work for different individuals.
For example, tips mentioned in the book that have worked for me in the past included working within a set of restrictions (a word count or using limited materials in jewelry design) and using deadlines. Mind maps, on the other hand, have never been that useful to me and I've had mixed success working while listening to music. One new tip I want to try is working when I'm tired. Apparently that can help, not hinder, your creativity. Who knew?
- The author asks thought-provoking questions about commitment, passion, values, actions, and other topics that can shape our creative output.
For example, she asks, "Do you have reasons or results? If you aren't taking action, you must have a reason. But that reason probably isn't helping you get the results you desire." Be warned, the questions she asks aren't always comfortable ones. Some of the pointed questions might make you squirm, but if you're serious about changing your path, they're good questions to consider.
Win a Copy of Creative Visualization for Writers
One copy of the book is being given way during the course of the blog tour. Fill out the Rafflecopter form to entered to win. You can visit some of the other blogs that are reviewing the book or interviewing the author at the WOW! Women on Writing blog.
While the coloring pages made me want to review this book, they ultimately proved the least interesting feature. Part of this is my own personal bias; I much prefer the abstract designs on the affirmation pages than the literal illustrations such as the glass of water (Is the glass half full or half empty?). Some of the illustrations in the Focus section frankly puzzled me. If the coloring pages were supposed to help me envision myself in various exciting stages such as at a book signing, it would have been more effective to only have pictures without any complete people in them. I'm doubtful that it would be helpful (or particularly relaxing) for me as a female writer to color images of successful male authors.
That said, the written content of the book proved well organized with many thoughtful questions for anyone struggling or stuck along the path of creation. The wide mix of suggestions and tips guarantees that you'll find at least a few that you can rely on throughout your career. Overall, Creative Visualization for Writers offers much wisdom for any artist to ponder and try.