Creativity: Transform the Tension, Release the Anxiety and Fear

painters on a beach

Creativity… Turning ideas into reality… Channelling inspiration into something tangible…

The mind was meant for creating.

When inspiration is not a problem (they say it’s for the amateurs anyway),  on the contrary; there is an ideas overload, there are couple things that may  still block us from taking action.  In the last week I realized why ideas are often like hot coals I juggle with my bare hands.

What get’s in a way of creativity?

1. Tension. Misdirected Energy.

If there is too much I want to create, I end up doing nothing. I switch from one project to another, run in circles, in the end of the day accomplishing little. Or worse: I can’t sit in one place, I rush to clean the house and eat everything that’s in my way. Classic example, isn’t it?

When I was just about to label myself with ADHD,  I saw the tension was misdirected energy. Inward, instead of outward, to the writings, paintings, or garden landscaping… The tension and intensity is something very common for creative and sensitive people. You may also explore the topic of intensity here.

The energy present in this tension is meant to be put into our projects. What if it’s overwhelming? First, use some of the energy to do something physical. Then:

  • Action plan 1: Put in writing a quick plan to create what’s on your mind. Or make a sketch. Divide the big project into small goals. Goals that are: specific, measurable, meaningful, achievable (within reach at this moment), realistic, rewarding, time based.
  • Action plan 2: Make notes without editing. Don’t stop writing until there is absolutely nothing else you can say. Pour it all out on paper while it’s fresh.  When you cool down – reorganize it.  Look for the treasures and repeating thoughts.
  • Action plan 3: Create a structure. Show up at the computer (or easel) every day at the same time to create for few hours.  Make sure you are not disturbed at that time.
  • Commit to shorter blocks of time: 25-45 minutes – no matter what.  Notice what is the best time to do the work.

2. Fear of … everything! Taming the fear.

These are the fears that artists may experience during the creative process:

a. We have assumptions about what people want. I used to have a fear of not meeting those expectations.  If I didn’t  disarm this fear right in the beginning, I created not art but crap. Giving in to expectations (even if those are just imagined ones) is a betrayal of our uniqueness.

Being authentic in art takes courage because you expose your soul to the world. And yet this is the right thing to do. Only this way you can inspire. You must be able to stand behind your creation 100%.  Only 100%. How can you do it if what you created isn’t fully “you”?  “It’s a sign of a mediocre mind if the source of inspiration is too obvious” said someone famous.

“Your best work is your expression of yourself” – Frank Gehry

b. Fear that you will not be understood.

If you are ahead of your time – the next generation will understand you. The only issue here is, that you may make all the money postmortem.

c. Fear of being seen. Fear of being criticized, talked about, laughed at, rejected.

Being visible means receiving more critique, but also more admiration and more sales.  You may need a breakthrough so it won’t matter to you any longer. 

d. Fear that the fear will always be there. Fear that we will never be able to take one hand off the wheel.

What an Oscar – winning actress with over 50 years of experience has to say about it:

“It’s frightening having to act. And the more you do, the more frightened you get. But there is something about the fear that’s absolutely wonderful.” Judi Dench. How can you tame the fear?

3. Self Judgement.

Having too many fears may be a sign of self judgement. Your only response to self-doubt and crippling self judgement should be disregard. If you all the time think you crate unsatisfying things – VISUALIZE the best art yet to be created… and make it. You need to create a sense of space and freedom in your mind. But most importantly, when feeling judged and being too critical about yourself is a problem,  work on self acceptance.  It will create payoffs across many areas of your life.

As I mentioned in this post  judging yourself, especially when it starts from comparing yourself to others “is an act of violence against your authentic self” – Iyanla Vanzant

4. Resistance

  • This is so true. The reason why i feel like I can’t unleash the creative muse in me is because I fear that people will hate my work.

  • >