If you’re a client of mine, or a creative friend, you’ve heard me talk about Eric Maisel. He’s the guy who started this whole crazy amazing creativity coaching gig. I’ve read and recommended books of his in the past, and this is another one you might want to see…

coaching-artist-within-advice-for-writers-actors-visual-eric-maisel-paperback-cover-artIn this book, Maisel turns his decades of coaching, teaching, and creating into nine keys to help people come up with solutions to their creative challenges.

Eric, would you be willing to highlight one or two of these keys for us?

I start with the “mind” key because I believe that getting a grip on our thoughts and doing a better job of thinking thoughts that actually serve us are supremely important skills to master. Most people do a poor job of “minding their mind” and choosing to think in ways that serve them… If people did a better job of “minding their mind” by noticing what they were thinking and by making an effort to replace defensive and unproductive thoughts with less defensive and more productive thoughts, they would live in less pain and they would give themselves a much better chance of living the life they dream of living… There’s really nothing more important than getting a grip on your own thoughts!

Boy is that true! I think most of us in the arts struggle with that on a regular basis. I wouldn’t have become a creativity coach if I hadn’t. My clients know that I understand what’s going on with them!

Another key that interests me is the “stress key.” What are some of your tips for reducing stress in an artist’s life?

Life produces stress, the artistic personality produces additional stress, creating produces even more stress, and living the artist’s life is the topper! An artist must learn how to deal with all of these stressors—and how to deal with them effectively. You might try “writing your stress away.” …You can reframe a given demand as an opportunity… You can have a fruitful conversation with yourself and answer the following four questions:

1. What are my current stressors?

2. What unhealthy strategies am I currently employing to deal with these stressors?

3. What healthy strategies am I currently employing to deal with these stressors?

4. What new stress management strategies would I like to learn? An artist needs to honor the reality of stress and make plans for dealing with it!

 Thank you, Eric. Probably the best advice I got from you was to consider letting go of my idea to start my novel over from the beginning. I still may need to start over, but at that point in time, that idea was totally stopping me from even opening up the document. Thanks for being a great teacher and coach. My own clients thank you, too.

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