Sunday, 1 March 2015


To my mind, February always ends suddenly, as if it decided to take a couple of days off without telling anybody. Two-headed January bumbles past but then - today! -  March is here and already and it's looking scarily busy. Not only do I have a couple of big family events, some World Book Day Week/Fortnight school visits to do - but I really, really need to get on with some writing.  

A little tense? Moi?

However, Eric Maisel, a creativity "guru", mentioned recently by Heather Dyer, offers an interesting concept. He believes artists have to face two kinds of anxieties.

On one hand, there are all the anxieties you suffer when you aren’t able to work for a variety of reasons. You’ll be anxious because you have no time to think, no time to turn the thoughts into words. You’ll feel the frustration of being caught by other demands, the sense of being suspended from what you should be doing, uncomfortable at a deep, gut level, even when you try to still the emotion. Recognise that feeling?

On the other hand, he says, are all the anxieties that come when you are working: all the self-doubt, the tangles in the working process, the crises of confidence, the feeling that the work is not going as it should, that it is no good, blah blah blah. Working is often uncomfortable too.

Eric Maisel suggests that the artist -  in this case, the writer -  is better off learning to accept that both states of anxiety constantly exist, rather than wasting energy over the conflict between the two states of mind. 

Maybe that's why the use of an outside device, such as the famous timer, acts as release from that transfixed "blank page" state?

In addition, I also heard – while busy with my tax returns - someone on the radio explaining that each time we spy an email, go to Facebook, play a quick game, tweet and so on, we get a buzz, a small dopamine reward. 

She said that the danger of those small social media "rewards" is that they help you procrastinate, and deter you from the harder and longer work where the rewards aren’t so quick. Oh bother!

Hmm. On one hand, some things to think about . . .

On the other hand, stop wasting time looking for "rewarding" answers.

Memo to self more than to others: GO DO THE WORDS!

Have a great World Book Day!
Penny Dolan


Susan Price said...

Oh lord, I recognise a lot there, Penny!
And the small dopamine reward from playing games? That must be why I so often stop to play Zuma... Must get a grip...

Joan Lennon said...

That's good advice about accepting that those 2 states of mind exist - and getting on with it anyway. Also, I'd want to add, any way.

Dianne Hofmeyr said...

great post! Interesting point on the dopamine affect of social media.