This is a scene in one of the great movies about the inner life of artists: “Adaptation.” Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman [Nicolas Cage] is facing the dreaded blank page:
“To begin…To begin…How to start? I’m hungry. I should get coffee. Coffee would help me think. Maybe I should write something first, then reward myself with coffee. Coffee and a muffin. So I need to establish the themes. Maybe a banana nut. That’s a good muffin.”
From “Adaptation” – written by (the real) Charlie Kaufman, based on the book The Orchid Thief.
In his book Mastering Creative Anxiety, creativity coach Eric Maisel, PhD asks,
“Are you creating less often than you would like? Are you avoiding your creative work altogether? Do you procrastinate? That’s anxiety.
“Do you resist getting to your work or marketing your work? That’s anxiety. Do you have trouble deciding which creative project to tackle? That’s anxiety. Do you find completing work hard? That’s anxiety.”
In his many years of counseling as a psychotherapist, he has found, “Anxiety regularly stops creative people in their tracks and makes their experience of creating more painful than pleasurable.
“It stops would-be creative people entirely, preventing them from realizing their dreams. Anxiety is the number one problem that creative people face — and yet few even realize it.”
In his book he describes “many of the sources of anxiety in a creative person’s life” and provides “little-known anxiety-management techniques” to help you manage that anxiety.
One of the challenges creative people face that affects anxiety is meaning.
One related article: Making Meaning To Be More Creative.
My video: Eric Maisel on Creative Anxiety
Audio clips and images in the video:
The first audio clip is from “Eric Maisel: Overcoming Creative Anxiety” – interview by Simran Singh.
Photo: “A lonely artist(Explored)” – By SamikRC – from article Developing Creativity in Solitude.
Collage artist Alexis Smith, followed by Eric Maisel on a park bench, both from article Creating To Maintain Meaning.
Photo: “Tea worry” from article Sensitive to Anxiety and Depression.
The second audio clip is from his course Your Best Life in the Arts.
One section of the online course is “The Stress Key” – “Life produces stress, the artistic personality produces additional stress, creating produces even more stress, and living the artist’s life is the topper! Learn how to identify the stressors in your life and how to implement stress management techniques.”
Read more in article (with video interview): Eric Maisel on his course “Your Life in the Arts”.
Photo of Maisel followed by movie scene with Valentina Cervi as Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1653) – one of the first well-known female painters.
Emma Watson in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (2012).
“The difficulty for me is that I’m interested in so many different things. I could never really imagine myself doing one thing, and I’m pretty sure that I’ll end up doing four or five different things. I want to be a Renaissance woman. I want to paint, and I want to write, and I want to act, and I want to just do everything.”
Emma Watson – From article: Multitalented Creative People.
Carrie Brownstein, the star and co-creator of Portlandia, the IFC comedy series, is also guitarist and vocalist in Sleater-Kinney.
She made some interesting comments about writing her book – especially one on procrastination:
“All of my creative endeavors up until the memoir were collaborative, they were partnerships. I see the common thread as writing, and that takes on different forms.
“With music, I just don’t procrastinate. With writing, I was amazed at how multifaceted procrastinating could be.
“It was really amazing how many other things I could do instead of write on a given day. It required self-propulsion and diligence that I had never really come up against, because there’s just no one else in the room.”
[From Indie icon Carrie Brownstein’s new memoir is a mash note to her band Sleater-Kinney by Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times, Oct 29, 2015.]
Her book: Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir.
[Photo from MAKERS Profile video of Carrie Brownstein.]
Are you a musician, actor or other performer?
Do you need to make presentations for your job, or to get more clients?
Stage fright and fear of public speaking are related forms of anxiety. Here is a short video by ‘working mom’ Cyndi Lukk on how she benefited from using a program of The Lefkoe Method:
Read more about the Undo Public Speaking Fear program.
The way that we say things often masks the anxiety that we’re feeling, by Eric Maisel, PhD.
His books include:
Also see my Creative Mind articles:
Related page: Actors and Anxiety – Get Help For Your Stage Fright.
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An additional perspective on creative people and anxiety comes from Charles Linden, who reports: “Over the last 12 years, through working with over 130,000 high anxiety sufferers, we have been able to collect data regarding character traits, genetics and environmental factors which has enabled us to characterize the typical profile of a person who has a predisposition to high anxiety conditions.
“Our data shows us that anxiety sufferers all share a superior level of creative intellect.”
That is from his article “Creative intellect as a marker for genetic predisposition to high anxiety conditions” – listed in my post High Ability, High Sensitivity, High Anxiety.
Video: Causes Of Anxiety Attacks – by Charles Linden.
Mental Health – Emotional Health videos
on The Creative Mind YouTube channel.