Book Reviews · Writer's Resources

Fearless Creating: Book Review

Fearless CreatingFearless Creating is a step-by-step guide to starting and completing your work of art, written by psychotherapist and creativity coach Eric Maisel. It breaks the creative process down into six stages and details how to overcome the various problems encountered along the way.

The only way to create something is to risk failure and this gives rise to high levels of anxiety and fear. Sometimes the hardest part of the creative process is dealing with your own doubts. This book provides valuable support and encouragement through wise advice and useful exercises at each stage of the process.

The six stages identified by Maisel are: wishing, choosing, starting, working, completing, and showing. Each of these activities is challenging in its own way, and each has its own set of anxieties or inhibiting tendencies. By following the advice in this book, you can overcome your fears and find a way to bring your creative work to life.

As an example: the first stage of wishing is all about the desire to create something. This is where you are dreaming, playing around with ideas in your mind, but not sure exactly what you want to create. The anxiety associated with this stage is hungry-mind anxiety – you feel inspired, a great idea catches your attention, and then… it dissipates, you begin to doubt the idea was any good to start with, you drift to another idea, and another, but somehow you never really get going. The ideas never seem to catch fire.

To deal with hungry-mind anxiety you need appropriate feeding. This means finding an idea and holding it, give it space and room to breathe, play with it. Don’t go running off after another idea and don’t let the doubt stop you from working at it. Feed the idea until it catches fire.

Fearless Creating is a great book for anyone who creates: writers, musicians, painters, sculptors, actors, dancers, etc., and guaranteed to help you work through your anxiety with courage and passionate discipline.

Eric Maisel:

What the artist does poses a threat to the ordinary person, and at the same time strikes him as terribly luxurious. The artist is hated for telling the truth and envied for living his life authentically. Thus subtle and flagrant stops are put on the artist’s creativity by society at large. But in the individual too, his own creativity hangs in the balance. …

Will you create? The question is an open one and can be answered only through action. If you have taken that action, congratulations! You know as well as I do that not creating is a dead loss; and that creating is one of the few genuine answers to the question ‘How can a life be meaningfully spent?’”

Read my series on The Creative Process here
More: Resources & Links for Writersresources-writers

 

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