“Love is the spirit that motivates the artist’s journey.” – Eric Maisel
As anyone who reads my blog or receives the newsletter knows, I suffer from various forms of malaise that might be called “writer’s block.” As soon as I read the title Mastering Creative Anxiety, I knew this book would help. I ordered the book and began using the lessons immediately.
Why this book? First, the title alone properly identified the problem. According to creativity coach, Eric Maisel, I don’t actually have a block. What I have is anxiety around creating. I also grow anxious around some non-writing activities, but this was the first time I’d named what went on in my head when I sat down to write as anxiety.
Second, the book is practical. It offers twenty-two specific tools and examples of how to use them. I appreciate that Maisel gets to the solution quickly so I’m not muddling around. I already know I’ve got a problem. I want to know what to do about it.
Third, Maisel’s tone and strategies are both firm and kind. There’s no shame in this book and no slacking either. Gently, yet clearly, he explains that success depends on applying the suggestions.
Fourth, and possibly most important, Maisel addresses all the different aspects of the creative life and the appropriate tool for that stage in the process. One day I’m tackling the rough draft. One or two tools (including a technique very similar to writing practice) works for that. Another day I’m in the revision process. A different tool helps there. In the promotion process, still another method is offered. Realistically, the book approaches different aspects of creativity in different ways.
The jury is still out, of course. I am working on, but have not yet finished the current revisions nor once again taken up promotion which I set aside awhile back. I’ll let you know how it goes.
In the meantime, do you recognize anxiety in your process? If so, what techniques work for you in the various stages of the writing life? I’d love to hear about it.