Hi, SEers John with you again. My last post opened a discussion of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs related to our writing job. If you missed the post, HERE it is again.
This time I hope to have a little discussion of each of the pieces of the Pyramid so that an idea may be generated on how movement between the levels can be a more controlled process.
We all agree the writing job is a tough one. Can you imagine trying to get in a fully creative posture if you don’t know where your next meal is coming from or experiencing homelessness? It is pretty tough to even think about writing when these conditions are present. Granted, not many of us have these basic dire situations, but there are subtle situations that can serve to keep you busied out when thinking about it.
For example. A writer has decided to do intermittent fasting. Now the body does not have the ability to understand a subtle strategy of weight control. No, the body assumes the worst. That would be a total absence of food. So the reaction becomes clear. The body decides to pester that brain to hunt out food. It creates such a miserable feeling making sure that food is the only thing the brain can think about. Character ARC? Sure, if it is edible. The point is, as a writer, you may feel you are blocked when in fact, you are being sandbagged by a very clever body. The writer wants to write? Go eat something. Now you can move up the pyramid.
A writer feeling the need for safety doesn’t necessarily mean an immediate life or death situation. On the one hand, many had concerns during the COVID pandemic that prevented the creative process. Now that the pandemic is becoming less concerning about immediate safety, other concerns can take a different twist. How about unknown factors relating to work at home or the changing nature of the job? If they are part of the writer’s life, resolutions to any outstanding questions need to occur. A writer must take proactive measures to find answers to concerns and then begin writing.
The year-long isolation that we all went through did not help the writer to feel close to friends. Also, at times there was an almost too close feeling between family members. In any case, the friend/family dynamic was disrupted. In some ways, we are fortunate that the situation turned out to be temporary, so now a more normal feeling about friends and family can develop. I think we all feel better about the situation, and better writing could be the result. Of course, If the writer has no friends and is engaged in family disputes, the writing may continue to suffer. The advice would be to address any family issues before trying to be creative.
This is the one that buggers every writer. Writers have to work alone, and there are no atta-person awards handed out for doing the day-to-day job. It would be nice to go up on the podium and collect a thank you for an outstanding paragraph, but that is just not going to happen. The everyday challenge of remaining confident is daunting. If a writer does not meet that challenge every day, it becomes more and more difficult to face the keyboard with quality work in mind. The real secret is to take pleasure and a sense of accomplishment in words produced today. Sure they may not be perfect, but they are probably unique. Once a writer can praise themselves, then continued and controlled movement to self-actualization is possible.
Writers find the sweet spot of creativity when in the zone of self -actualization. It is while in this position that the full joy and fulfillment of writing become apparent. The words flow like water, and the creative process motors on unencumbered. It is an exalted state which should be achieved routinely. However, if the writer is conscious of the restraining factors of the other positions of the pyramid, then tricks can be played to make sure the time spent at the peak is maximized.
So in summary:
- Recognize when physical needs are being challenged and take action to stop.
- Understand that safety needs may arise due to uncontrollable factors and learn to take proactive action to control that which is possible.
- Know when family and friend issues are having an effect on creativity and address them.
- Realize the writer must take pleasure in personal accomplishment and be self-satisfied.
- Observe when the zone of self-actualization describes the current position and remember how it was achieved.
Thank you for reading, and I hope I stimulated some thoughts
Do you have any tricks to fool yourself if you find that you are stuck in one of the pyramid levels? Let me know in the comments.