July 28, 2010

How Much Joy Can You Stand?: A Creative Guide by Suzanne Falter-Barnes

This book's purpose is to give you tools to break through your creative block and give you the inspiration to move forward with your ideas, so that they are not just your ideas any more- they are reality.

There is a wealth of information in this book about how to get your creative juices flowing and how to stop procrastinating (of which I am the Queen Bee) and get out there and make it happen already!

Barnes talks about the voices that we all have in our heads- the ones that say "No, no, it's too risky" or "You can't pull that off." or "Wait until retirement or after the kids are older or when you have more money put away or when you're life is completely perfect" (as if.) She says:

"First you have to know these voices for what they are- a mere smoke screen, set up to distract you. A meaningless test, as it were. Then you must simply allow the voices to do their thing and understand that their presence is an intergal part of your creative process. Their protests will gradually grow shorter and shorter, as the voice of your work becomes louder, and you will begin, ever so slowly, to see the value of your undertaking. So eventually when you listen you will hear more and more input that is productive."

That was very inspiring to me. It helps to know that everyone goes through the same feelings when it comes to the creative process, and to know that the voice in my head saying "I don't know about this..." gets quieter.

It's funny because I am a very outgoing person. I walk up to people and introduce myself, I am more open than most people, and I'm pretty confident that I am a cool person to know and hang out with. But when it comes to being creative, I close up. I am very self-conscious about the whole process. I even sent a children's book I started writing out to a few friends to get reactions, which were all positive and the feedback was so helpful and enjoyable. But I am still very self-conscious about it and I can't understand why my confidence about my personality does not spill over into confidence in my creative abilities.

Barnes had some advice on this:

"Creativity is that magic seed many of us assume we were born without. Yet it is lying latent, waiting in every single one of us...tend to that seed, so that it flourishes as effortlessly and as naturally as it was intended."

Barnes gives advice on how to keep track of your process as well:

"Buy or create an oversized calendar for your dream, then hang it in the space where you do this work. Make a mark on each day that you actively work at your project. You can add qualifying remarks, describing how the work went, or any other notes pertinent to your process. Your calendar should be a big visual journal of the pursuit of your dream, a constant reminder that you are giving yourself an important gift and that you are, indeed, making progress."
This book was very helpful to inspire me to go back to and keep up with my creative interests. I recommend this book to anyone who needs a confidence or motivational boost to their creative pursuits.


BOOK #: 44
RATING: 4 Stars
3 CHALLENGES: ThemeQuest Challenge, 100+ in 2010, Support Library Challenge
GENRE: Nonfiction, Creativity
PUBLISHER: Ballantine Wellspring
FORMAT/PAGES: Hardcover/208
HEY, FCC!: I got it from the library.


  1. This sounds like a good one!
    It has a great title that makes me want to pick it up -- and your review confirmed that instinct.

  2. Cool! I think you should try it.


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