I struggle with being a creative person. For me, it’s a mix of not 'trusting' my creative impulses while at the same time having a lot of demands on my attention. Being aware of my struggle allows me to begin working with it and ameliorating the effects. Mastering Creative Anxiety was a pleasure and a powerful tool for me in unlocking a deeper understanding of my creative nature.
What we know and what scientific thinkers are coming to understand, is that when a creative urge is stifled or repressed, we become depressed and lose our sense of Self.
Deceptively simplistic, each of Maisels' 24 lessons reveals a new aspect of creativity to ponder as well as tasks to do and vows to make to relieve the anxiety. For example, the first lesson is The Anxiety of Creating and Not Creating, which reads, in part:
"Since both creating and not creating produce anxiety in anyone who wants to create, you might as well embrace the fact that anxiety will accompany you on your journey as a creative person -- whether or not you are getting on with your work."
Your vow is:
"I will create, even if doing so provokes anxiety; and when it does, I will manage it through the use of the anxiety management skills I am learning and practicing."
You are also given teaching tales that illustrate each lesson's point. The Anxiety-management skills are varied and Maisel makes a point of saying that we should choose the ones that work for us.
The lessons are obvious and cogent, for example: The Anxiety of Individuality, The Anxiety of Day Jobs, the Anxiety of Completing . . . Each of us has faced one or more of these anxieties in our own creative endeavors.
~review by Lisa Mc Sherry
Author: Eric Maisel
New World Library, 2011
pp. 236, $20.99