Dealing with the Fear

Fear is a sneaky thing. It comes in many forms, creeps up on us, and jumps out just as we think we are doing okay.
Which type of fear do you have?
Fear of Missing Out? Fear of Success? Fear of Failure? Of being seen as a fraud? Of being laughed at? Of being not good enough? Of being ‘found out’? Being wrong?

write your own story

The list goes on and on. Fear comes in many forms for the typical creative. Just as you think you have got one sorted, another one raises up and says ‘Don’t forget about me…..’

Fear is probably the number one reason why more people don’t follow their creative dreams. It may disguise itself as procrastination or being too busy, but underlying those things is one of the many fears and worries. The result is the not doing, or the filling our time with other things, but the cause is our fear. And yet just as we can worry about not being good enough, we can lie awake fretting over ‘what if I never…’. We can’t win with these internal fears, so we need to beat them!

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
What have you not done over the years because you were scared to?
Travel? Study a creative course at University instead of the ‘safe’ one you did choose? Take a year out to follow your dream?

What would you create if you weren't afraid? Click To Tweet

The trouble with creatives is that we are often fairly introverted, quiet people who don’t want to attract attention or be on show. This is at odds with the whole ’show your work’ aspect of creativity. We want to draw or write etc, and we want to share this with others. Then we don’t because that is opening ourselves up, exposing ourselves. What if they laugh, what if they don’t like it…What if! What if!

And there is our old friend fear, sitting back in his comfy chair and sniggering at us. Again. Click To Tweet

In order to succeed we need to be willing to fail, to get it wrong, to screw it up, to look a fool. And let’s face it, that’s hard, especially for us quiet introverted types who spend most of the time avoiding all of those things.

don't be afraid to make mistakes

Some tips to get past fear –

The ‘fake it til you make it’ approach. If you want to be a writer, ask yourself, what does a writer do? What do your favourite authors do? if you are an artist think about your favourite artist.
Do they sit around reading books on ‘How to be a…’, or writing journals of why they want to be a an artist, and how they might the able to do it one day?
Ummm….no. They probably write or paint. So even if you are just starting out, try doing the thing you want to do most days.
I know, its hard, that’s why I wrote a book on getting more creativity in your life. But it boils down to – do the thing you want to do. Make it a priority.
Act like a professional even if you only intend to be an amateur.

Picture ‘future you’. Say 20 years from now.
What are they doing? What would their biggest regret be?
What would you love them to be saying?
What would hate them to be wishing they’d done?

I have talked before about a favourite film of mine, (We Bought a Zoo) and the idea of needing ’20 seconds of courage’ to get past fear. Those few seconds it takes to make a start, to take the first steps.
All art takes courage. Unless we are being commissioned to do something, there is no guarantee anyone else will want it or admire it. We do it because we love it, because we have to, and that takes courage, and determination.
What can you do in 20 seconds? Not much you think, but you can send an email about studio space, or being in a gallery. You can send that competition entry off. You can get up when your alarm goes off, and do that creative session you keep promising yourself before breakfast.

Do other forms of creativity to tiptoe past the fear monster in the corner. Short bursts of drawing for writers, using writing prompts for artists, to use different parts of our brain, and get our creativity flowing, but not waking the fears. Once we get the hang of just creating something, we can bring in more of our preferred thing, and build that up slowly too. Small, steady steps will get us just as far as trying to do a whole lot at once.

Imagine the future, we have to picture the finished article, the positive result. It is also easy to picture the opposite, so we need to practise the positive outlook and keep the fear based negatives at bay.
We can use affirmations, and listen to visualizations, to help us.
Some useful affirmations are –

‘I am becoming my true self’
‘I am allowed to express my creativity’
‘I am a writer/artist….’
‘I release the self doubt. I embrace my inner creative’


Try writing 2 or 3 affirmations out every morning. Or saying them out loud while you do your morning yoga. Or record positive statements on to your phone, and then you can play them to yourself while you are running/walking etc. Make them part of your playlist! The fears in your head CAN be overcome, they CAN be changed. New ones may come along, but you  now have some tools to deal with them.

fear of failure