How to Combat Fear in the Creative Process

When you're trying to do something you haven't done before--whether it's start a side hustle, pitch an article idea to a magazine, write a song, or publish some photos you took--going for something new can be scary. Putting yourself out there can be paralyzing.

What if people don't like it? What if you don't look cool? What if you're no good? What if you fail? 

Being willing to to take risks to create something, achieve something, or even win someone over (I'm looking at you, nervous guy who has a crush on that girl!) is admirable. It's respectable. Risk and reward often go hand in hand. 

Today I want to share with you a few things I've seen to be true in my own life around fear as it specifically relates to creativity. Here are a few tactics to combat the fear that can so easily silence that thing in you that the world needs you to share. 

How to Combat Fear in the Creative Process

1. Don't let fear drive decision making. It will be in the "car" but it should be in the backseat. Acknowledge that fear is along for the ride, but don't give it the power to drive your decisions. 

2. Just launch and learn on the way down. More often than not you will need to ship your idea before you are 100% done tinkering with it. You will always want to improve on it before you put it out there. But at some point you've got to let go. There will be more to learn after you launch. And that's ok.  

3. Relinquish your control over what people think of you. Don’t make decisions based on how other people will judge those decisions. That is a waste of energy. Don’t let people’s opinions paralyze you. The truth is, you can't control what people think about you and your work and they aren't thinking about you all that much anyway. 

4. Become prolific. Do the thing. And do it a lot. Fear’s goal is paralysis. Don’t even stop to think about it. Just do it. Hold your creativity lightly. Produce, produce, produce, and you’ll get better.

5. Choose goals that mainly take YOU to achieve. Don’t make goals around your “big break.” Make goals that you can achieve even if no one else is cooperating. Maybe it’s showing up at a networking group, reading 50 books this year, learning to code, or going to at least one audition every week. Focus on what you can control to get you where you want to go. 

6. Surround yourself with uplifting people and the right community. Be intentional with who influences you. Are you surrounded by people who are paralyzed by fear? People who used to be this or used to do that? People who do a lot of talking and criticizing but aren’t producing? Surround yourself with people who encourage your bravery by words and example.  

7. Verbalize what it is you are fearful of. Take it to its eventual end. What is the worst that could happen if you did a thing? Would you survive? Verbalizing your fear will diminish it because often when you say it out loud, it's not that bad. 

8. Make failure your new best friend. The more you risk, the more you will fail. The more you fail the more you will realize that failure will not kill you. You can get back up and go try again. That's empowering. 

Risk and reward are basically twins. You can't get to reward without the risk. So embrace the uncertainty! Do the thing because you simply love doing it. Don't focus on how it's received, lauded, or criticized. You're the brave person who created something. And that's awesome. 

Any strategies of your own for combatting fear in creativity? Share it with us in the comments or on social media! 

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