You don’t have time.
You have too many ideas and find it hard to focus.
You don’t have a supportive community.
You don’t have the right space in which to create.
These are all the reasons you and I don’t create. All are true and valid. And, that’s only the partial truth.
The truth is, you don’t create because you’re scared silly. You’re afraid you don’t have anything original to say. You’re afraid that despite your creative urges, you’re not good enough. You’re afraid that if you share your work with the world, you’ll be exposed as a talent-less loser.
How do I know? Have I peeked into the deep recesses of your creative unconscious?
No. I know because these are the fears that lurk in every writer I’ve ever coached, myself included.
Creating is scary. The original impulse of an idea is fun, energizing, exciting. The actual path to executing and completing that idea is fraught with our very human fears.
I’m feeling pretty terrified these days
As I approach the publication of my novel Chasing Sylvia Beach (2012), I feel more and more fear. I’ve been working on this book for twelve years and it means a lot to me and my work.
I find myself having to fight off deep, deep fear at every step of the way. It starts in my chest, seizing my heart and rooting in my gut with an acidic and painful grip. The fear saturates my blood and rushes to my brain, convincing me to abandon the mission and go hide somewhere dark and safe.
I swear if I didn’t have coaching skills I wouldn’t be able to talk myself off the ledge of quitting. Luckily, I know how to soothe my nervous system and squelch my fears.
I also know that fear will accompany me every step of the way. If I didn’t care so much, I wouldn’t be afraid.
I believe that our creative work transforms us, and that these fears arrive to help us delve deeper, grow further, understand more about our own unique process. Sure, you can work with a therapist to help you overcome your deeply rooted psychological issues (and I recommend you do) but adopting a creative course will give you much the same insights and opportunities for growing yourself as a person.
Keep going despite the fear
Our passion and fear come in equal measure. How to keep going despite the fear? Connect to your bigger mission, surround yourself with creative allies, and trust your creative impulses to help stay on track.
Coaching helps me and my clients continue on when the fear is too great. Sure, I help them arrange their schedules so they can write. I guide them to choose the projects that hold the most meaning for them, and to enlist help from creative allies.
But much of our work together revolves around eradicating fear enough to get the words out. I honor the brave souls who recognize that the external barriers to writing are only part of the reason we avoid creating.