Eric Maisel on anxiety and developing creativity

“Only a small percentage of creative people work as often or as deeply as, by all rights, they might be expected to work.

“What stops them? Anxiety or some face of anxiety like doubt, worry, or fear… anxiety is the great silencer of the creative person.”

Therapist and creativity coach Eric Maisel, PhD.

He also notes, “There are many different kinds of anxiety reactions. Sometimes anxiety manifests itself as confusion and a weakness of mind and body. Sometimes it manifests as persistent worry.”

“But one of the most common anxiety reactions is a phobic reaction… many cases of creative blockage — perhaps most — are phobic reactions to the creative encounter.

“These real, painful, persistent phobias affect many creative people and help us better understand why creative people are prone to addictions.”

[Also see my article Gifted, Talented, Addicted.]

The terror of the blank page or canvas – or bare stage

Maisel continues, “If I have desire (or energy, passion, etc.) and begin to obsess about a creative project, but then recoil because I have a phobic reaction to the blank page or the blank canvas (or the very thought of the blank page or the blank canvas), I will find myself in a state of heightened desire but thwarted intention, which is a state that cries out for some large anxiety reduction maneuver like sex, alcohol, shopping, Internet surfing, drugs…

“I build myself up to a fever pitch but can’t create and so HAVE to release the built-up tension some way. If this becomes a regular pattern in a creative person’s life, an addiction becomes likely.”

[From an edition of his Creativity Newsletter.]

Article: The way that we say things often masks the anxiety that we’re feeling, by Eric Maisel, PhD.

His books include:

Fearless Creating: A Step-By-Step Guide to Starting and Completing Your Work of Art.

Mastering Creative Anxiety: 24 Lessons for Writers, Painters, Musicians, and Actors from America’s Foremost Creativity Coach.

Articles on anxiety and anxiety relief

Related page Actors and Anxiety – Get Help For Your Stage Fright.

Anxiety Relief Solutions site

Photo: Nicolas Cage as Charlie Kaufman in ‘Adaptation.’


Originally posted 2012-06-12 22:44:23.


What do you think about these topics?