Fear and Creativity
Ever wonder why when you start doing something new and exciting all of a sudden you get afraid?
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve started something enthusiastically and unabashedly, only to forget about it a short time later. Like I had amnesia.
When I went to set up my last web site, I found 3 other ones that I had already started and forgotten about. I couldn’t believe it. They were totally out of my memory bank. Didn’t even remember that I had started them. But I can now remember why I stopped them. Fear. Fear of what someone would think, fear of what someone had told me, fear of being stalked, fear, fear fear,…………..
I was reading “Big Magic” today, by Elizabeth Gilbert. Thank you, Willa for recommending it. It’s been fascinating. It’s a little book, but power packed.
According to “Liz,” fear and creativity come together. You can’t have one without the other. If you let fear stop you, you also lose creativity. I can tell you a bunch of places where I let fear stop me:
fear that I “really” couldn’t sing, had me stop singing
fear that I wasn’t “good enough” at my piano and flute had me stop playing
fear that I was put on make-up in high school in the school play because I sucked had me give up acting
fear that I shouldn’t write about my “real self” has had me stop and start three different blogs and web sites
fear that I would make the same mistake in picking a “man” has had me stop dating all together (is this creative, I don’t know, I’m throwing it in anyway since this is MY BLOG and I can do whatever I want)
fear that my poems of acknowledgement are only appreciated because they say wonderful things about the person I wrote them for has me not write other kinds of poems
Do I need to continue?
But, as “Liz” says, if you just expect fear, tell it to come for the ride but it can’t drive the car, then you can still keep your creative juices rolling. It doesn’t have to stop you.
I’m excited because I am in the process of looking for an agent for my book. I realized today that I don’t really want to have to “kiss the ass” of potential agents. Fuck them. I don’t want to play their game. They are stuck in the existing paradigm. Who wants to sell out and join them…………..
What’s the real fear? That I won’t find one. That they will ALL reject me.
I decided to take a different tact. I AM going to play their game. I am going to come up with a compelling statement that makes them FIGHT over my book. I almost want to try these ideas out on you, but my FEAR is that you won’t like them or even steal them. So I won’t because FEAR is winning here.
Instead of being defensive, I am going to create excitement. What’s the worst case? They all say no and I self-publish.
And the best case? I find a great agent who sells me to a great publisher. Everyone believes in my story and it becomes a best-seller along with my next 25 books. Not because I’m a genius, as Liz says, but because I was open to the genius (or something like that). Why not go for it?
Instead of my “little dog, too,” it will be and my “big fear, too.”
Thanks for listening. Not sure this all went together but whatever. I’m not going to let FEAR stop me from pressing PUBLISH.
PS The play where I got put on make-up that ended my acting dream was The Wizard of Oz. And my best friend got the part of Dorothy as a sophomore!!!! Despite my personal embarrassment, I was very very proud of her. She was great!!! (In case you didn’t recognize the wicked witch saying “and your little dog, too.” I didn’t know if I had to explain that).