Other Cool Blogs: Liana Brooks 2/24/2016

Photo by Todd Ruth on Unsplash

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that in the middle of NaNoWritMo you have been taking care of your Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Because it is awful hard to write (a Self-Actualization product) when your Physiological and Emotional needs aren’t being met.

If you are not familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it goes as follows:

Bottom layer 1 – Physiological Needs (breathing, water, food, excretion, sleep)
Bottom layer 2 – Safety Needs (Physical safety like shelter and clothes and health; Mental safety like steady income, security of body, and security of those under your care)
Bottom layer 3 – Belonging (Friendship, family, sexual and/or emotional intimacy, sense of connection)
Top layer 4 – Esteem (Confidence, achievement, respect for self and others, enjoyment of arts)
Top layer 6 – Self-Actualization (Morality, problem-solving, lack of prejudice, creation of arts)

While for most of NaNoWriMo, writers are reminded time and again not to let their Physiological Needs slide – it’s hard to write hungry or without sleep – that is not the only layer which needs to be in place to write well.

Today, being Thanksgiving in the United States, is a day of Belonging so let’s look a little at that. I think this is where most of writer’s block comes from. Argument with significant other, parent or child being sick, depression – anything that breaks or endangers the ties of connection taking the energy away from the higher layers where creativity lives and bring it down to the more important needs to survive.

Just like a child isn’t going to learn while hungry, or cold because of no winter clothes which fit, or worried about being taken away from their parents, a writer isn’t going to do their brain-best if they cut back on their sleep, worried about their day-job, or hasn’t had a hug in a while. Humans need these things.

Now you can skip around the pyramid some – you can go hungry for a couple hours if you enter The Zone. Sometimes health is never going to be completely met because of disability. But don’t beat yourself up if you don’t write too much today because your family is 1,000 miles away (like mine is) and you are missing them. You look at all that free time and go “why can’t I write?!?”, but emotional fragility undermines your efforts. I am going to go talk to my mom on the phone for a while. That should help me.

To find out more about this topic check out Liana Brooks post: http://lianabrooks.blogspot.com/2016/02/maslow-vs-deadline.html. The takeaway comment which hit me the hardest “The secret to hitting your deadlines in the chaos is to recognize your needs, and meet as many of them as you can.”

WRITER EXERCISE: Take care of one of the three bottom layers today and tomorrow share below how it changed your approach to writing – and maybe not just word count, but your enjoyment of the creative process or quality of the creative process.