Breaking Through Creative Fear

I’ve been the proud owner of this beautiful space on the world wide web for two years now and sadly have very little to show for it. Eleven posts in two years is not quite what I had imagined when I began this creative project. I remember starting out with great enthusiasm, thinking that I would be conservative and write two posts a week and then increase it from there once I had found my rhythm. Two posts a week! What was I thinking? I’ve haven’t even managed one post every two months. Why, I ask myself and why do I keep at this, despite my abysmal output?

One of the main reasons that I have faltered so badly is because I lost my nerve. I love life, I love people, I love beauty, I love the fact that I see and celebrate beauty all around me so easily. I am fascinated by new ideas and perspectives that are different to mine. I love to have my mind challenged, to see life through lenses other than my own. Writing, sharing and reading has opened up this world for me, but I have only just cracked the door open. It is as if I am a child standing at the threshold, fascinated and intrigued but just too scared to step fully into the space. Fear is at the root - fear of failure, fear of ridicule, fear of rejection.

Brene Brown, in her book, “Braving the Wilderness” writes about how in the early years of her writing, she would sit at her desk and picture her harshest critics and naysayers. If she could keep them happy or at the very least quiet, she would be safe. But that is what her writing was - safe and comfortable - not what she wanted at all. So, as she says, she fired her naysayers and fearmongers and replaced them with people who would cheer her on - people who inspired her, people who had shaped the world with their courage and creativity.

When I find myself standing at the threshold, too afraid to step through the door, too afraid to put my creative efforts out there, I need to do as the inimitable Brene Brown does and ask myself who I have chosen to surround myself with as I write. Whose voice is that asking me, “Who do you think you are?” “Why would anybody be interested in this?”. Who are the cynics, who are the critics that I am picturing? Then, I need to tune those voices out, turn my mind away from the faces that I am picturing, summon up my greatest cheerleaders and walk boldly through that doo. Walking away from fear, through vulnerability and into a world of creativity, connection, growth and enjoyment.

I still love the idea of my blog and I know that I have a couple of cheerleaders in the wings. I think of Claire, who designed and built my beautiful blog and describes it as a place where I share my zest for life. I am warmed by her description of me as an inspiring and enthusiastic woman. Then there’s Kay, who describes my blog as eloquent and elegant - a wonder she calls it. There is also the joy of writing posts that touch the hearts of the people that I love. Hearing from them that my words have filled their minds with the happiest of memories is reason enough to keep doing this.

When Elizabeth Gilbert, in her book, Big Magic - Creative Living Beyond Fear, asks the question, “ Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you” , when she speaks of “living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear”, then I know that cheerleaders come in many forms. Max Lucado in his book, Cure for the Common Life, urges me to find the sweet spot of my existence - the intersection of my affections and successes - my God created uniqueness. A friend recommends, Stephen Pressfield’s, War of Art in which he highlights the forms of resistance faced by people who are trying to break through creative barriers.

Photographer, Christina Greve’s encourages me to be brave and to show up as I listen to her podcast, The Empowered Creative. Sas Petherick, on her podcast, Courage and Spice, talks me through my self doubts. Sara Tasker urges me to stop making excuses and to start actually trying as she interviews, writer and teacher, Sarah Von Bargen on the podcast, Hashtag Authentic. But, the ultimate encouragement comes from Bob Goff in his podcast, Dream Big where he tells me that my “dreams matter and all of heaven is peering over the edge waiting for me to chase them.” Wow! who can resist giving it a go after hearing that?

So, for my cheerleaders; for the Kays, the Kaitlyns, the Claires, the Kerans out there, here I go with a fresh launch of my blog where I celebrate all that delights me, where I articulate my unique take on life in the hopes that it will connect in to the lives of others as we all find the courage to bring forth our unique, God given treasures hidden within us.

Be encouraged for, as Dr Seuss says:

You’re off to great places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting, so ......
Get on your way
— Dr Seuss
Photographer: @pipparichards

Photographer: @pipparichards