Eric Maisel Interview;

Creativity Coaching, Writing & Making Meaning

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Eric Maisel’s work has been a huge influence in my creative life.

His book The Van Gogh Blues was a godsend during the challenging years of early motherhood when my creative outlets were sorely neglected.

And the audiobook version of Secrets of a Creativity Coach was one of the pivotal discoveries of my coaching career. (I spent many happy hours pushing prams and learning about my fellow creatives and their challenges. 🙂 )

Eric was also one of my early mentors and played a large part in me finding the field of creativity coaching and ultimately my beloved dharma.

So it was a true delight to be invited to interview Eric and receive his valuable insights on the joys and challenges of a creative life.


An Interview with Eric Maisel

Creativity Coach & Author

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Eric, thanks so much for doing this interview.

My first question is about the field of creativity coaching that I love so much.

Can you share how you got started with this amazing work?

Was there a pivotal moment or did it evolve gradually over time?

“It evolved. As I was training to become a therapist, I was already eyeing working with creatives as a possible specialty, as I’d been a writer for a dozen years already and knew all about those challenges.

Then, when I began seeing therapy clients, with a focus on artists, I soon began to disbelieve the therapy model of “diagnosing and treating mental disorders” and segued first into creativity consulting, and then “created” creativity coaching when coaching became a viable idea.

It all happened rather quickly, but there wasn’t a pivotal moment, more like a natural progression.”

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Why do you feel creativity coaching is so beneficial to those of us called to a creative life?

“Most people feel unsupported; creatives all the more so.

For a creative to be able to work with someone who understands their issues and challenges and who can help them co-create plans of action is rather a blessing.

Second, coaches, as a rule, feel quite comfortable holding their clients accountable, an accountability that creatives quite often need.

Those twin pillars of coaching, support and accountability, can make a real difference in a creative’s life.”

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You’ve written often about the concept of making meaning and its role in living a full and happy life.

How do you view creative expression in the role of making meaning?

“Certain activities are likely to provide us with the subjective, psychological experience of meaning.

They aren’t guaranteed to provide that experience, but they regularly do.

Many things fall into this category of “meaning opportunities,” everything from spending time with your children at the playground to helping a neighbor repair a fence.

For creatives, creating is one of their prime meaning opportunities.”

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In my work, I love to offer both coaching and self-coaching guidance.

How important do you think it is for creatives – or anyone – to learn self-coaching?

“Very. The creative individual has to deal with everything from managing anxiety to cracking through everyday resistance to thinking thoughts that serve to maintaining motivation, and these things must be done in real time.

It is lovely to have a fruitful conversation with a creativity coach, but the creative must rely on herself 24/7, alone with the work, facing the blank page or the blank canvas, living the challenging life she’s chosen for herself.

That requires self-coaching!”


{ Here’s an extra tip for self-coaching for creatives }

If you could suggest one first baby step to anyone looking to get started in offering creativity coaching, what would it be?

“The first step is to make sure that you actually want to see clients and are willing to see clients.

Many folks take trainings and enjoy them, but are then a bit scared to begin the actual coaching.

They fear that they don’t know enough, that they may say or do the wrong thing, that clients will push back on their suggestions, and so on.

The first “baby step” is affirming that you are ready to take the plunge and work with client, even though you have your doubts and aren’t feeling ready.”

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You’ve just launched a brand-new training programme – can you share a little more about who it’s perfect for and what they can expect?

“I’ve partnered with Noble Manhattan Coaching, a great organization with worldwide reach and significant experience in certifying coaches, to create a Creativity Coach Certificate and Diploma Program that is rich and robust and that allows you to, in a self-paced way, get all of my top lessons and all of the resources of Noble Manhattan.

You’ll end up with a highly respected certificate or diploma and the readiness to practice as a professional creativity coach.

I highly recommend it!”

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You’ve mentioned that you love what you do.

I’m a passionate advocate for helping people enjoy a sense of right livelihood and find their dharma.

Can you explain what it is about your own work that you enjoy so much?

“Well, I just like it <smile>.

But to dissect that, I see myself in the resistance camp, resisting everything from the abuses of psychiatry to the ways in which religion betrays our common humanity to smiley-faced advice about the creative life.

There is so much out there that I don’t agree with—and I want to speak up about all that.

I don’t find conventional wisdom particularly wise, and I want to put in my two cents’ worth.”

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You’ve written many great books on a range of topics – what’s your productivity secret?!

“Super simple: things interest me.

Oh, I have good habits, I know lots of tactics and strategies, and all of that, but the bottom line is that life interests me and I see the ways in which I can be of a little help.

Each book is enjoyable to write and feels like a modest contribution, so, why not write it?

Also, I have the sense that I know some things <smile>, things that can help others—and sharing those tidbits feels straightforwardly valuable.”

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And finally, just for fun – as a writer yourself, what’s your idea of creative heaven?

“As a younger person, I would have said a Paris café.

Now, it is right where I am, at my desk, with a lovely view out the window, with a cup of coffee and a pitcher of water beside me, and with lots of hours to do what I want.

Nothing else needed!

And if I need a change of pace, I’ll put on a little Chopin or make a bowl of popcorn.


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More from Eric Maisel

I hope you enjoyed these insights from one of the pioneers of creativity coaching and a master of the art of creative living.

If you’d like to learn more about Eric and his work, there are a range of ways to connect and discover his books, courses and coaching programmes.

His new Creativity Coach Certificate & Diploma is available from

Eric also offers a range of courses, resources, and coaching services on his website at

His latest book, The Coach’s Way, is available now.

If you’d like to read more about Eric’s influence on my work and creative journey, I’ve written a number of posts about that inspiring connection – see Related Posts below.

I’m also planning a review of my experience in the Basic and Advanced Creativity Coaching Trainings offered by Eric a few times year – you can join my newsletter here if you’d like to stay tuned.

And I hope this interview has inspired you to value and honour your creative calling, in whatever way feels the most exciting for you.

Because, as Eric so wisely says…

“Perhaps in the end, that which we seek lies within the quest itself, for there is no final knowing, only a continual unfolding and bringing together of what has been discovered.”

Till next week!

danielle raine creativity coach

Hi! I'm Danielle.

creative coach danielle raine

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Dive deeper…

If you’d like to dive deeper into Eric Maisel’s work, here are a couple of his most recent projects…

Related posts…

My posts relating to Eric Maisel’s work and his influence on my journey to Creativity Coaching

Available now: The Book of the Blog

An inspiring anthology of self-coaching tips for creatives

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