12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women

By | 5 May 10

12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women - book reviewThe 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women, by Gail McMeekin is truly a “portable mentor” as the subtitle suggests.

Published over ten years ago, many of the book’s themes have been repeated, embellished and embraced in other books, workshops and forums.

However, much of this advice is timeless and as important today as it was then.

It is about moving forward as a creative woman, overcoming past obstacles and fear, and claiming your creative self.

The chapters in this book take the reader on a journey… the journey to creativity.  It is broken into three “gateways”:

  • Engaging Your Creativity
  • Mastering Your Challenges as a Creative Woman
  • Actualizing Creative Results: The Power of Positive Priorities

From my experience, many artists turn to books for help when they feel stuck and unproductive. This book addresses those issues head-on.

In the section about surrendering to creative cycles, the author reminds us, “In the creative cycles of birth and death and rebirth, there are times when we are empty of ideas, adrift in a sea of ambiguity and nothingness.  These times can be labeled the neutral zone, the void, a vacuum.  No matter what they are called, they are part of the creative cycle, and wise women accept them and trust that when it’s time, their inspirations will percolate again.  The void beckons like a doorway to transformation and new beginnings.”

A later chapter talks about knowing what supports and detracts from your creativity, and how to identify your personal positive priorities.

In other words, it helps you create a basic structure — perhaps a map — of your best path to creative expression, and where its boundaries are.

The 45 women interviewed for this book include:

  • Sarah Ben Breathnach
  • Clarissa Pinkola Estes
  • Shakti Gawain
  • Chris Madden
  • Sigrid Olsen
  • Barbara Sher


You can open the book to almost any page and find something inspiring.

Quotes in the margins add depth to each section.

The interviews and stories represent a wide range of backgrounds, philosophies, and approaches to creativity.


Much of this reads like a textbook.

No pictures.  I wanted a break from the words… photos, artwork, anything visual.

A little dated, since many of these ideas have become part of our popular culture in the past ten years.


If your public library has this book, check it out.  (If they don’t, recommend it.)  If you’re a full-time artist or aspire to be one, a used copy of this book is a smart investment in your creativity and peace of mind.  There’s a lot of, “Whew! I’m normal” in reading this.  There are also a lot of great solutions to the nagging problems some of us have (erroneously) accepted as “just part of the job.”

art books reviews rating - 3 stars

Available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

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