The Practice of Creativity

Posts Tagged ‘fear

Hi folks,

Last week, I was away at sea, on a cruise, so I wasn’t able to post. This trip was the kickoff to my upcoming 50th birthday and there is LOTS to tell about that (I got to visit Cuba!). I will share my reflections SOON.

Today, I wanted to follow-up on ridding ourselves (or at least examining) unhelpful patterns of mind as part of my Spring Cleaning and the Creative Life series. My last post was on fear and there is *always* more to say about this topic.

Four years ago, I wrote a poem about fear and its presence in my creative life. Four years ago, I held a big creativity summit online with renowned coaches and writers. I went on a roller coaster learning curve and at times it was painful. Four years ago, I was also submitting my work like crazy and getting poems published and placing in contests. Inevitably, as we grow bigger, we often have to deal with our fears that come wrapped in new clothes. This was true for me in 2014. Looking back now, I can see that my creative growth triggered a powerful fear attack. If I hadn’t pushed through it, I might have stopped on my creative journey and never made it to this amazing time in my creative life.

It is really powerful to use four years as a marker on your creative path. Amazing podcaster and writer, Joanna Penn wrote an excellent post on using the Olympics as a way to think about what one can achieve in just 4 short years. Check it out, I think you’ll find it inspiring:

https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2012/08/11/measuring-achievement-by-olympics/

Here is the post I wrote in 2014 (almost exactly four years ago) that explores how to handle a fear attack:

As a coach, I have found that the number one thing that stops most people from pursuing their deepest and most meaningful heart’s desire is fear. Fear comes in a variety of forms, shapes and personas including ‘what will they think’, ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘I’ll never make money doing what I love’, ‘I need more credentials’, and ‘what if they don’t like what I create’, etc.

None of us are immune from feeling fear, especially when we’re moving outside out comfort zone. The danger is that fear with its tricky (and sometimes believable) tunes of gloom will get the best of us and immobilize us for far too long. I’ve had my own run-ins with fear over the years. What follows below is an impromptu ‘talking back’ that I recently gave to fear.

When you’re in the grip of a fear attack, it might be fun to write a poem/letter/manifesto to your fear and finish the lines ‘I’ve lived through….’

I am looking you, FEAR, straight in the eye

I am looking you, FEAR, straight in the eye
How dare you try to intimidate me!
Do you know what I’ve lived through?

I’ve lived through being a battered woman’s child
I’ve lived through being an abused young woman
I’ve lived through poverty
I’ve lived through being almost homeless
I’ve lived through discrimination
I’ve through academe
I’ve lived through the vagaries of a creative life

What else do you think you can do to ME?

How dare you sit there!

How dare you, FEAR!

How DARE you, FEAR!

So what if they laugh? I’m supposed to be worried if the unspecified THEY laugh?

What do you mean?

THEY have laughed before, so I imagine that they’ll laugh again

How dare you trying to make me afraid!

for asking for more
for wanting more
for trying more
for talking more
for being seen more
for saying I deserve more
for desiring more

How are dare you, FEAR!

Here’s what I want you to know, FEAR

Your days are numbered

I’m cleaning house in 2014

You better get in line

Or, I will strip you down into the dysfunctional four letter thing that you are

And EAT you!

 

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When fears are attended to, it clears the way for clear and simple writing that comes from your heart. Even the briefest attention can melt fear.
-Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy, author

Last week, I began a series about spring cleaning for your creative life.

There are three steps in the process:

1) You reassess your space, your schedule, and patterns of mind to see what is supporting or not supporting your creative life.

2) You reorganize your space, schedule, and patterns of minds to allow you to create with more ease.

3) After reassessing and reorganizing, you rededicate yourself to having a productive and joyful creative life!

Reassessing your physical space is a great place to start because it is visible and you spend a lot of time there. Another thing to reassess during spring cleaning are your ‘patterns of mind’. By this I mean, the habitual ways of thinking and responding to your creative life.

One powerful pattern of mind is fear.

Fear can show up in so many ways in a creator’s life. We fear to write, draw, and sing badly, we fear rejection, we fear we won’t reach our potential, we often fear the blank page, canvas, music studio, etc. Fear often causes us to procrastinate.

Fear looks like not following through when an editor asks you to send them new work.

Fear looks like talking yourself out of registering for that art class that you’ve been dreaming about.

Fear looks like spending more time listening to writing podcasts than taking time to write.

One thing that helps is acknowledging and tracking our fears. One great way to do this is by keeping a fear journal.

In 2015, I had the good fortune of meeting the writer Daisy Hernandez, author of the incredible memoir, A Cup of Water under My Bed. During a talk she gave to my upper division ‘women and creativity’ seminar, she said that keeping a ‘fear journal’ has been helpful to her writing process. She explained that a fear journal is where she lists her fears that come to her as she begins writing (or even after she’s finished). So, while she works, she has her fear journal open on her desk. Sometimes she’ll write ‘Still afraid’, or she’ll name a fear specific to the project that she is working on.

What I love about this concept is that it acknowledges that writers tend to have lots of fears while writing and that it is powerful to capture them in one place. Fear is a normal part of the writing experience. Writing it down allows us to have some distance from the feelings that the fears evoke. A fear journal helps us to see the ebb and flow of our worries and concerns.

Fears never go completely away, but by employing self-reflective exercises, they don’t have to immobilize us.

Do you have a pattern of mind that needs some attending to during spring cleaning?

 

Image credits: Dreamstime; Shutterstock

Affirmations-366Days#359: When writing, I confront feelings of fear and self-doubt. I challenge them, one sentence at a time.

For new readers, here’s why I’m committing to writing affirmations, about the creative process, during the next 366 days.

Hi creative peeps,

We are deep into the last quarter of the year. Wow! It seems like it was just June and I was packing for the beach. A few days ago, I sat down and checked on where I was with my writing goals and creative projects and where I wanted to be by the end of the year. There are several goals that I could see would be met by the end of the year. And, there are a few goals that seem far from their end-of-the year target. I am both daunted and excited about this gap between where I wanted to be in October and where I am. But, there’s also many things that are going extremely well that I couldn’t have predicted in January. And, making that list clarified areas I need to take action in.

You might be in the same situation—wondering how you will make good on some of those plans and promises you made to yourself during the first quarter of the year.

You might be feeling that some of your most important goals are slipping away from you as you look at the calendar and see the end of the year fast approaching. (I don’t think anyone in the U.S. gets much of anything done after Dec 18).

It’s not too late to connect with what you most wanted to accomplish this year with your creative work.

I’ve found a perfect opportunity for me to serve you. I decided to learn Facebook Live so that we could connect about how you can make the last quarter of the year the best!

If you’ve never done Facebook Live it is EASY. You will just go to my Facebook page (on this page, you’ll see the icon to the right toward the bottom of the page—Michele T Berger) at the designated time and I will appear in real time. You can type in questions (please, or else I will just be talking to myself) and I’ll answer them live. Everyone on the page at that time can follow our conversation and join in. It will be FUN!

Next Sunday, Oct 30th at 6:30 pm (EST), I will be on Facebook Live answering YOUR questions.

You can ask me anything about writing, the creative process, etc. I mean ANYTHING. You know I love to provide coaching on how to make more time for your creative life, writer’s block, dealing with inner critics, fear, procrastination, perfectionism, etc., how to submit your work for publication more frequently, etc.

I’ll also share a few tips and resources that are helping me stay on track so I can reach the goals I outlined for myself.

I’d love to see you there. Feel free to go over and ‘like’ my Facebook page now. I’ll also provide reminders about the Facebook Live event during the week.

Mark the date in your calendar—it will be like a free coaching session!

Facebook LIVE: Next Sunday, Oct 30th at 6:30 pm (EST)! I’ll stay on about a half hour, or until there aren’t any more questions.

Affirmations-366Days#289: To grow creatively, I choose to face what I fear most and learn from it.

For new readers, here’s why I’m committing to writing affirmations, about the creative process, during the next 366 days.

Affirmations-366Days#263: Truth: My fear has never authored anything; it doesn’t have the power to create. My passion is bigger than my fear.

For new readers, here’s why I’m committing to writing affirmations, about the creative process, during the next 366 days.

Affirmations-366Days#201: The fear of success or failure melts away when I am fully present to the writing coming through me.

For new readers, here’s why I’m committing to writing affirmations, about the creative process, during the next 366 days.

 


Michele Tracy Berger

Michele Tracy Berger

Author, Academic, Creativity Expert I'm an award winning writer.

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