Make It Mighty Ugly: Exercises and Advice for Getting Creative Even When It Ain’t Pretty is a book by OG internet crafting mover and shaker Kim Werker. This book is all about helping readers understand what creative demons are, why we might have them, and – importantly – how to identify, confront and overcome them.
MIMU is divided into three sections, and they each have different exercises to help you make the most of Kim’s message about how making things ugly can help you tap into your own creativity. And boy are they exercises. Like good physical exercises, they can be a little painful, but they genuinely help reader really dredge up and deal with the ugly things blocking them from being creative.
Maybe that description is a little abstract. Time for a little show & tell! Near the end of Part 1: Name the Demons, readers are challenged to, literally:
…make an ugly creature. Those are the only two criteria: 1) Ugly. 2) Creature.
Do not make your creature cute-ugly. Make it ugly-ugly. Not the kind of ugly that engenders compassion, but the kind that inspires revulsion. …
So, this is what I made, based on the parameters laid out in the exercise. Per the instructions, this dude’s name is Splotchsky and he’s a sadistic orchestra conductor whose bottom half is 25% squid 25% octopus (see? only 4, not 8 legs? eh?). Part of the exercise is naming your ugly creation and giving him a bit of a backstory.
I’m kind of hitting on a later, photo-based exercise here as well by sharing an ugly photo, not my usual styled and edited photos for the blog. Bonus points, Ms. Werker? ;)
For me the book really, really genuinely worked. Maybe a little bit of it was how much I can relate to the author’s struggles with a simple lack of enthusiasm about working a traditional job. I haven’t personally had the balls to write much about this issue myself, but Ms. Werker hits the nail on the effing head, man. One shouldn’t feel the need to apologize for how they want to live their life. Amen, sister. ;)
Even if you’re living your passion at a full time job and looking for a guide to help you become a “creative person” this book is absolutely worth the buy. I have a lot of friends who consider me a lunatic creative weirdo who works in a dangerous neighborhood part of the time and knits and blogs the rest. They often say I’m so lucky that I was raised making and creating (and yes, I’m very lucky I was), but you don’t have to have been a girl scout with a sewing machine to be creative! And Make It Mighty Ugly teaches readers how to do just that. How to embrace your inner child who wasn’t afraid to make ugly things (and mistakes) and create.
I could go on, but I want to encourage you to buy this book. Its list price is $18.95 (U.S.) and you can fill it up like a journal. I marked my copy all up and plan on reading it again. I’ve never met Kim Werker in real life,* but I can’t wait to sit down for a beer with this chick and talk about creativity (and knitting, duh).
*we do, full disclosure, have a mutual friend.
Affiliate links were used in this post. I was given a free review copy of Make It Mighty Ugly. Views expressed are entirely my own.