Fear Based Creative Paralysis

I am afraid of being creative.

When I was younger, I was all about being creative.  Sure, I was also neurotic, destructive, volatile, and loathsomely irritating at times - but I was free.  I expressed all my feelings without a second thought to whether or not they were true and/or offensive.  I did whatever tickled my fancy, within a certain amount of reason.  Through the rose colored spectacles of hindsight, it was an okay deal.

Now I am older, wiser, more "mature".  I am a mother.  I am a wife.  I am a grown up and there are expectations about what I should do and how I should think.  I am no longer free the way I once was.  I pride myself in being so self controlled, so educated.  I look - twice - before I leap and I shake my head and cluck my tongue at those irresponsible "kids" who don't.

Unfortunately, this attitude of severe self regulation is not exactly conducive to a lifestyle based in creativity.  Especially when working on this novel, when trying to write a story that is both creative and not technically shitty, I am getting hung up on all the little details that didn't used to bother me.  This insecurity is starting to prevent me from moving forward with this project.  Its preventing me from ever finishing.

The other day I was thinking about all the fears I have about writing this book.  I am afraid that I will be judged as a terrible writer.  After all, I've had zero formal training in the craft.  Being that the story is based on actual events, I am worried about offending the people who lived that part of my life with me.  I'm already convinced that explaining its fiction will not resolve this issue. I am scared of never finishing - that I will blog and talk about it for the rest of my life and never come up with a product that is "done".  It concerns me that I should do something more "productive" with my time.  After all, I can't make a life for my children from writing novels!  I don't want to pump out content just for the sake of making a living. 

These fears in particular bother me because they are things I never would have considered 10 years ago.  

Digging deeper, I know that my biggest fear (I'll just say it here for posterity) is that I will finish the book.  I will finish it and love it.  I will be so proud of it.  ...and it will go nowhere.  It won't receive any criticism because no one will even bother to read it.  I am afraid of my work being relegated to obscurity.  

I want to be creative for the sake of contributing something to the conversation of life.  The book is important to me because it make a statement about the way I see the world.  I know that at this point in my life I have to be an adult.  I have small people (and big ones, too) depending on me.  I can't be as free as I used to.  But I don't have to be so self conscious either.  So what if in 10 years I don't agree with my own point of view?  At least I said something - anything!  I have to tap into that courage if I ever want to see this project through to publication.

1 comment:

  1. I hear this loud and clear, Kitie. For me, though, I suspect that I'll continue to be dissatisfied with my life as long as I'm not using my creative side. And even though I fear failure (otherwise known as other people's validation), I'm trying to accept that it's more about honoring and exercising that part of myself-- that that alone will make life more enjoyable and fully lived, even if nothing material ever comes of it. Good luck with the novel, and the journey!