By Eric Maisel, New World Library, $14.95, 259 pages

10“Get ready to create calmly!”

Creativity creates an anxiety of its own, at least according to Eric Maisel, author of Mastering Creative Anxiety: 24 Lessons for Writers, Painters, Musicians & Actors from America’s Foremost Creativity Coach. The creative personality is often besieged by anxieties of life that lead to the inability to create, thus furthering the anxiety and fueling the system, stifling creativity and increasing stress. Maisel offers twenty-four common stresses in his book. The result: an ability to identify the source of one’s writer’s block, procrastination, lack of focus, or fears, and solve them, freeing one’s self for artistic expression and a more fulfilling creative life.

The chapters are organized into an introduction of the anxiety, a suggestion for a “to-do” exercise for working through the anxiety, a vow to help focus when the anxiety-invoking situation arises, and a teaching tale that reads like an Aesop’s fable with a basic moral at the end. While the focus on anxiety may at first make you more paranoid than ever, in the end, it helps identify those vague feelings of malaise and coalesces them into specific anxieties that can then be dealt with. If you’re a creative person who is looking for help making a change, this book is a helpful tool.

Reviewed by Axie Barclay