Why Being Creative is So Damn Scary

Posted by on October 20, 2015

why creating is so damn scary - McKella Sawyer

Many creative blocks are rooted in fear.

It might be fear of rejection, fear of disappointing others, fear of failure, or fear of learning something about yourself that you’re afraid to face.

These are all very deep, very human, very common fears that we all experience at some point, and a lot of creative blocks have their roots here. These fears hold us back not just in our art, but in many areas of our lives. If these fears are issues for you, a creative block is just one of the ways they might manifest, and by working through them in the context of creative block, you might find that other areas of your life like your work, relationships, even your health improve as a result.

But why is creating so scary in the first place? Creating should be fun, wild, and liberating! It should be easy and flowing and expressive.

But sometimes, it just isn’t. Sometimes it’s difficult and frightening.

Why is creating so scary?

Art and anything you create comes from your soul, from the very deepest parts of you.

It can be very scary to show to other people. It’s like being naked. It’s very vulnerable, and feeling vulnerable often feels unsafe.

Our minds are wired to protect us from everything from packs of wolves to physical assault to ridicule to unpleasant emotions.

When your mind senses vulnerability, it interprets that as danger and will do everything it can to fight or flee from the threat, and when your mind senses danger while you’re creating, it pulls the plug on your creativity, and your ideas stop flowing. Creating feels hard. You find reasons to put down the paintbrush and not pick it up again for weeks. You start saying you don’t have the time, you don’t have enough space, you don’t have any ideas, you don’t like how your art looks.

This is your brilliant reptilian brain keeping you safe, your deepest instincts protecting you from the unknown.

It’s very painful to want so badly to create, but be paralyzed by fear. I’ve been there so many times, and I know exactly how hard it is.

So how do you overcome this deep fear so you can create from your soul again?

First, forgive yourself. Forgive that part of your mind that is scared and wants to keep you safe. It’s doing its very useful job. Have gratitude for that part of you, and assure it that all is well and you’re safe. There are no tigers hiding in the bushes, no monsters under the bed. The danger is not real.

Then, take a tiny step. What is the smallest, least-intimidating step you can take in the direction of your creative dreams?

Start there.

It might be to write one sentence of a novel.

It might be to set out your paint set where you can see it.

Maybe you sing along to one song in your car, where no one can hear you, or dance to one song in your living room.

Maybe you purchase a new sketchpad, or a new brush.

Find the smallest step you can take while still feeling fairly safe, and do it. Teach your mind that there is not danger, and taking these steps won’t harm you.

Then take another step, and another, and find yourself walking right out of your fears.

art comes from the deepest part of your soul

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