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Coaching the Artist Within:

Advice for Writers, Actors, Visual Artists & Musicians from America's Foremost Creativity Coach

(Eric Maisel - New World Library, 2005)

Reviewed by Beth Morrow

Copyright 2005 - All Rights Reserved

One part creative spirituality akin to Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, one part vignette a la Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird and a dash of practical advice on how to conquer a variety of creative psychological issues, Eric Maisel's Coaching the Artist Within takes reader/artist--regardless of medium--on a voyage deep into the creative psyche to develop the one habit that sets the true artist from the wannabe creator: a daily routine of creating.

Through a series of simple stories from Maisel's own files as a creative coach for actors, screenwriters, musicians, authors and visual artists, Maisel introduces twelve thematic issues that threaten to keep even the most seasoned artist from creating on a daily basis:

Becoming a Self-Coach

Passionately Making Meaning

Getting a Grip On Your Mind

Eliminating Dualistic Thinking

Generating Mental Energy

Creating In the Middle of Things

Achieving a Centered Presence

Committing to Goal-Oriented Process

Becoming an Anxiety Expert

Planning and Doing

Upholding Dreams and Testing Reality

Maintaining a Creative Life

Each chapter begins with a broad illustration of the chapter concept, segues into two relevant exercises to reinforce the theme then wraps up with a reality-based short story involving all creative types and how they overcame difficulties of their own to be the artist they longed to be.

While some of the chapter themes sound a bit stilted, (for example, 'eliminating dualistic thinking' really refers to a creative person's tendency to believe that one facet of creation is better than another--i.e. fiction/nonfiction, process/product, personal/commercial--and the subsequent blocks those beliefs create) each issue has a grain of relevance to every creative mind. Few of the exercises take more than a few minutes to internalize and complete, and all offer the reader a chance to expand their thinking about the processes that lead to creativity.

Whether you're a seasoned novelist, practicing screenwriter or a novice freelancer, Eric Maisel's Coaching the Artist Within can help you face those fears lurking in the back of your mind and lead you, through relevant stories and thoughtful activities, to establishing the daily creative process you desire and deserve.


About the author: Beth Morrow is a freelance writer who is learning to create in the middle of things. In addition to both national and regional writing credits, she authors a daily blog of writing resources at www.writers-loft.blogspot.com, compiles a monthly column on small press and independent publishers and is working on her first nonfiction book on writer's retreats. She can be contacted through her website: bethmorrow.com




         Last updated: February 19, 2007