Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Through discussions and interviews with writers, artists and health professionals, author friends James McKenzie Watson and Ashley Kalagian Blunt explore the big questions: how do books get written? How do people navigate life with chronic illness? And just what are you reading?

Ashley Kalagian Blunt is the author of Dark Mode, an internationally published psychological thriller. Her earlier books are How to Be Australian, a memoir, and My Name Is Revenge, collected fiction and essays. Her writing appears in the Sydney Morning Herald, Overland, Griffith Review, Sydney Review of Books, and more. Ashley is an enthusiastic teacher of writing and creativity. Originally from Canada, she has lived and worked in South Korea, Peru and Mexico. Find her on Twitter and Instagram or visit her website.

James McKenzie Watson is the author of Denizen, which won the 2021 Penguin Literary Prize and was shortlisted in 2023 Ned Kelly Awards for Best Debut. His writing has appeared in The GuardianMeanjinKill Your Darlings and the Newtown Review of Books. He has appeared at events including the Sydney Writers Festival, Newcastle Writers Festival and BAD Crime Sydney. He works as a nurse. Find him on Twitter and Instagram or visit his website.

Mar 21, 2023

Does anxiety go hand-in-hand with creative ambition Psychologist Sanchana Venkatesh joins Ashley and James to discuss the positives of creativity for mental wellbeing and the common problem of creative anxiety. 

An emerging writer herself, she's familiar with the types of anxiety common to creatives. She delves into why we often can't just sit down and have fun with our creativity, provides advice on managing our creativity, and offers reading recommendations for further support. 

This episode is full of practical tips for managing creative anxiety (and anxiety in general), for creatives of all types, including those writing about or exploring trauma in their work. 

Sanchana Venkatesh is a psychologist and writer of short stories and essays. She has been practising as a psychologist in schools, public mental health, and non-profit settings since 2008, and is currently the sole practitioner and founder of flourish inside out psychology services. Her areas of special interest include anxiety, depression, chronic illnesses, life transitions, tics and Tourette’s. Sanchana enjoys working with creatives, single people, gifted individuals, and migrants and people of colour. She was shortlisted for the 2021 Peter Carey Short Story Award, and her writing appears in the 2017 Newcastle Short Story Award Anthology and the 2020 Better Read than Dead Writing Anthology.

You can find Sanchana's services at Flourish Inside Out, and find the dropping anchor exercise here.

Books and authors discussed in this episode:

  • Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Mastering Creative Anxiety by Eric Maisel
  • Happy Never After by Jill Stark
  • A Kind of Magic by Anna Spargo-Ryan
  • The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris
  • Emotional Agility by Susan Davis
  • Lost Connections by Johann Hari
  • Homesickness by Janine Mikosza
  • The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

**Nothing in this podcast is intended as medical advice. If you have concerns about your mental health, speak to your GP.** 

Ashley's events: 

James' events:

  • Newcastle Writers Festival – I'd Like You to Meet: Lee Kofman chats to James McKenzie Watson, Saturday 1 April, 2-3pm (free!)
  • New Blood: Crime Writers to Watch – Sunday 2 April 1:30pm at Newcastle Writers Festival ($20 – book here)
  • Yarrum Storyfest – 1-2 July, Yarrum Regional Theatre, Yarrum, VIC ($25-$40 book here
  • Sydney Writers Festival presents James McKenzie Watson – Wednesday 24 May, 6.30-7.30 pm, Penrith City Library ($5 – book here)
  • Sydney Writers Festival Life in the Landscape – Thursday 25 May, 11 am to 12 pm, Carriageworks ($15-$25 – book here

Ashley's psychological thriller 'Dark Mode' is out now! Learn more about it and get your copy here.

James' novel 'Denizen' is out now! Learn more about it and get your copy here. 

Get in touch!