BOOK REVIEW: Make It Mighty Ugly by Kim Werker

Book Review: Make It Mighty Ugly by Kim Piper Werker #creativity #read
I’ll admit I’m not a huge reader. I find it difficult to concentrate on words (where’s the pictures?) and I read rather slowly, which usually means I never finish a book I start. I stole Alison’s copy of Make It Mighty Ugly months ago and set it on my bookshelf intending to sit down and read it. Months went by and I still hadn’t picked it up.

At the end of February, I packed up and left for Central America and knew that the month long vacation I had ahead of me would be the perfect time to finally read Mighty Ugly. So with nothing to do but lie in a hammock with a rum punch and a good book, I started reading.

Make It Mighty Ugly is A Handbook For Vanquishing Creative Demons. Author Kim Piper Werker shares personal stories from her own experiences, offers advice from other successful creatives, and provides tools and exercises to overcome what she calls the dark side of creativity, ie. Our creative demons. We all have creative demons to face. Kim discusses the most common ‘demons’ like fear of failure, self-doubt, perfectionism and block. Then she offers exercises and suggestions on how to make friends with and overcome them.

Book Review: Make It Mighty Ugly by Kim Piper Werker #creativity #read

The title, Make It Mighty Ugly, comes from her desire to make ugly things on purpose. She does this as a way to overcome her fear of making something ugly unintentionally. I’m sure we all can relate to the feeling of worrying about what other people will think about the things we make. By setting out to make something ‘ugly’ we are able to free ourselves from the pressure of what the product or end result looks like. It instead allows us to focus on the process – which in my opinion (and Alison’s) is the best part of making anything.

Alison and I have had many discussions about how frustrating it is to hear people say “I’m not creative” because it’s just not true! As children we are born with the gift of creativity and imagination. What happens to a lot of people is that someone at some point tells them that something they created was bad or stupid and that they have no creative talent. What a horrible thing to tell someone, especially a child! Our creativity is what makes us truly unique individuals and expressing our creativity is so important for personal development.

I have been haunted by my own creative demons for years, particularly self-doubt and fear of failure. Years ago back when I had just begun my own creative business, Camp Smartypants, at a time when I had just discovered my creative voice and artistic style, someone close to me lashed out and accused me of being a fraud. I was utterly crushed. And what’s worse is that a part of me believed that she was right. Ever since then I’ve had that demon sitting in the dark part of my thoughts reminding me that no matter what I do or try to create, I am nothing but a big fat fraud.

Book Review: Make It Mighty Ugly by Kim Piper Werker #creativity #read

Reading Make It Might Ugly was such a comfort, learning that I’m not alone in combating creative demons. Until I read Kim’s book, I never really considered that there are ways of ‘making friends’ with and overcoming them either. I had just accepted that they were there to stay, sitting in the shadows of my brain, haunting me.

The biggest thing I learned from Make It Mighty Ugly is that you CAN quiet those mean voices inside your head. You know the ones, telling you how stupid you are and that your creative ambitions will never amount to anything. Creative demons don’t have to rule over you. We all have the ability to tell them to sit down and SHUT UP. All you need is the courage to acknowledge them and with the help of Make It Mighty Ugly you can face them head on. And the next time they start to chime in with their ugly negativity, you’ll be ready to take them down in a constructive, and creative way.

You can get your very own signed copy of the book on Kim’s website. It’s also available wherever books are sold so head to your local bookstore!