July 22, 2013

Fear: Creativity's Nemesis

I've been noticing a theme on writer blogs lately, like since 2005ish.

Insecurity. Fear. Writer's block. Mental breakdowns. 

If you haven't read choreographer Twyla Tharp's THE CREATIVE HABIT yet, you can thank me later. Here's how she stares down each of her fears before getting to work: she identifies them and invalidates them.
1. People will laugh at me? Not the people I respect; they haven't yet, and they're not going to start now. . . .

2. Someone has done it before? Honey, it's all been done before. Nothing's original. Not Homer or Shakespeare and certainly not you. Get over yourself.

3. I have nothing to say? An irrelevant fear. We all have something to say.
4. I will upset someone I love? . . . You're a good person with good intentions. You're trying to create unity, not discord.

5. Once executed, the idea will never be as good as it is in my mind? Toughen up. Leon Battista Alberti, the 15th century architectural theorist, said, "Errors accumulate in the sketch and compound in the model." But better an imperfect dome in Florence than cathedrals in the clouds.
 Someone make me a meme of that last quote to put on my desktop, eh?

 Let's all give this a try. Here's me talking myself out of my lame insecurities:
1. I will waste my time? Better to exercise my brain writing a story than surfing the internet. Hopefully I'll at least stave off Alzheimers. Or make my brain a more interesting place to live once I do get Alzheimers.

2. I will never publish what I'm working on? The minute I type an idea and click save, it's public and preserved for my family, and I love them the most, so they are worth my effort. Any other readers I might reach someday are a bonus. And besides, as author Martine Leavitt likes to say, writing the book is the best part about publishing the book, so go ahead and enjoy the best part already.

3.  I will get published and everyone will judge what I wrote? Don't think about that yet. It's so far off you may as well be worried about the Rapture.
If you dare, share in the comments. What fears threaten to interrupt your process, and how do you trick yourself into disbelieving them long enough to get some work done? If you're not a writer, does fear of being creative affect you in other areas of your life?

7 comments:

J. A. Bennett said...

I'm totally worried about the rapture too, so why shouldn't I be worried about my stuff being judged? haha. Yeah, I have all those same fears and it's freaking hard to get over them. But facing them head on is a great way to go about it. For now, I'll try my hardest to just enjoy the writing.

Jim Webb said...

All that stuff you have preserved for family....when do I get to read it?

Kim Webb Reid said...

Dad, I knew you'd say that. You get to read it WHEN IT's FINISHED.

Kim Webb Reid said...

J.A., sad when we have to *try* to enjoy what we love, huh??

Michelle D. Argyle said...

Since I've chosen writing as my career, it is something I cannot afford to NOT make money at, so my main fear is that it all won't pay off for how much time and energy I put into it. And by pay off I mean that I could have been making money and helping my family get out of debt and putting food on the table with another job instead of scribbling away on stories that don't matter. Like I said, that's all just a fear. I know it's not true, but it's still there ...

Kimberly Kay said...

Personally, and as unhelpful as this will sound, I've found I can overcome my writing fears of no one liking my work when I get in a writing group and people RIP APART my work. Because after it's happened, the fact still remains: I'm still me, this is still MY story, and I like it. So I'm going to keep writing it. Haha!

Kim Webb Reid said...

Kimberly, nice approach! Now THAT is facing fear head-on.