Parkite shares secrets to ‘Kick-Ass Creativity’
Two years ago, Mary Beth Maziarz didn’t see herself becoming an author in the foreseeable future. She thought she might write a book at some point in her life but had no idea what shape it would take.
Maziarz has made a living as a professional songwriter, performer and workshop facilitator. She had decided to take some time off to raise her young daughter when she picked up a book that changed her course.
In the spring of 2008, Maziarz read "Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting" by Lynn Grabhorn. "I’ve always liked reading books about anything that can change your life," she says.
She was immediately drawn to the discussions about energy and the idea about nurturing the creative flow. She had an idea to tailor the concepts to an artistic lifestyle and, after realizing that the book had spawned a series, she logged on to the publisher’s website to find out more.
The next day, she Googled "how to write a book proposal" and started working on sample chapters of a how-to guide geared toward people with creative jobs, hobbies or inclinations.
The outcome "Kick-Ass Creativity: An Energy Makeover for Artists, Explorers, and Creative Professionals" was officially released last weekend. On Saturday, May 8, Maziarz will appear at an author event at Dolly’s Bookstore from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Although she didn’t have concrete plans to become an author, Maziarz says she has been writing her entire life. "I’m always the person who writes too much on birthday cards," she explains, adding, "Being a songwriter, I traffic in words anyway. It was a natural progression."
Within a few weeks of submitting her proposal and a couple sample chapters to Grabhorn’s publisher, Hampton Roads Publishing, the CEO emailed her to let her know he liked the idea and planned to bring it up at a staff meeting.
Maziarz had a contract in place by Labor Day 2008. She found an agent, outlined the entire book, and got to work. Writing was actually much more conducive to her lifestyle as a mom than playing gigs, she says. She’d set aside a couple days a week to buckle down at a coffee shop. "I’d just caffeinate myself to the hilt and camp out for nine or 10 hours."
She had basically finished writing the book by March 2009. Soon thereafter, the publisher started sending sample covers and soliciting her input.
The only time she got nervous about the project was when she received cover art featuring a woman dancing with a scarf. Maziarz didn’t want to field questions about whether she was the dancer, and furthermore, "No self-respecting man would be caught dead picking up that book," she says with a laugh. Luckily, the publisher was willing to work with her and they settled on a more agreeable image.
"Kick-Ass Creativity" is essentially a how-to book to help readers open, explore, and embrace their creativity.
Although it originally started as part of the "Excuse Me " series, as it morphed into its own project, Maziarz decided to go with a different title.
"In the end, I think it’s a great thing," she says.
According to Maziarz, her target audience falls into three different groups: people who want to be artists but who aren’t quite sure how to go about it; jaded artists who have put aside their dreams and want to reignite the creative spark; and people who respect energy in general.
She says the book can be especially helpful for women who are raising children. "The needs of running a household are so great that sometimes their dreams go into hibernation," she explains.
The contents of the book include an examination of energy and what it has to do with art; how to overcome procrastination and negative thinking; how to develop a creativity-boosting support group; and how to get rid of flimsy excuses that block creative output.
No matter where readers fall on the creative spectrum, Maziarz provides practical suggestions backed by spiritual laws, psychology, life coaching, and historical anecdotes to fire up the process. Each chapter features interactive exercises to get creative juices flowing and to release one’s inner artist.
Now that the book is in stores, Maziarz is delving into the world of promotion and marketing via the Internet and social media. "I had this vision of me in Waldenbooks [a shopping mall-based bookstore chain] all over the Midwest, but book tours don’t always make financial sense," she says.
Instead, she is plugging her project on Facebook, Twitter, her personal blog and the book’s website, http://www.kickasscreativity.com .
Meanwhile, Maziarz also has other projects in the works. She is starting to think about her next album, she plans to host a series of workshops in Park City this summer, and on May 11, she’ll introduce a special screening of "Who Does She Think She Is?" a documentary about women artists at 6:30 p.m. at the Kimball Art Center.
"Kick Ass Creativity" is available locally at Dolly’s Bookstore. For more information about the book, visit http://www.kickasscreativity.com .
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