Fear of Creativity

A rather unfortunate, yet commonplace problem amongst creative minds is one of fear: fear of being creative, fear of making something that could be terrible, fear of rejection, fear of judgment, fear of failure. This root fear seems driven by every artist’s desire to make great work. After all, that is why creative people create—to build or define beauty as they see fit. So when inspiration strikes, there is both a drive to create and an element of fear holding back. The apparent duality of this situation is actually multifaceted.

First, there is the general fear of failure. Nobody wants to fail, creatively or otherwise, even though great minds have shown us that failure is necessary for improvement. This fear of failure manifests itself as hesitation and self-doubt, ultimately causing procrastination or just a delayed start, or even destroying the urge to create altogether.

Secondly, the fear of judgment. Fearing what others might think of the work, fearing comments of negativity, generally less-than-glowing reviews, and perhaps even rejection. Much like fear of failure, the fear of judgment also manifests itself as delay.

In the creative process, it is important to come to terms with one’s strengths as well as weaknesses. Not just for a healthy psyche, but for forgiveness. Creative minds, before ever embarking on a creative project, must forgive themselves for being terrible, and must give themselves permission to fail, to mess up, to create bad work, and to experience rejection when it comes. Somewhat ironically, accepting terribleness is key to achieving greatness.

So when the next creative project comes along, throw aside self-doubt. Ignore the voice in the back of your head telling you you’ll mess up. No, embrace it. Accept that you might make something awful, and dive in head first. The creative process is not one of immediate perfection, but rather one of constant adjustment. No project is perfect at first, and this is entirely okay.

Go forth and make terrible work, for the sake of greatness!

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