“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”

Joseph Campbell

blank canvas

With a book out in the world and an online course in production, both aimed at people who have secret ~ or not so secret ~ hankerings to try something artistic or creative but are afraid to begin, you might think I had a pretty good handle on creative fears.


Creative beginners are often overwhelmed by the possibilities and don’t know where to start; or they are afraid that they will try and it won’t be any good; or ~ and this is a big one for many, despite it having no real relevance to creativity ~ that they can’t draw.

At least three well known artists come to mind right now who ‘can’t draw’. This concept that we can’t draw is usually an old message from school, where grades and comparisons and accuracy mattered. I would like to state for the record that none of that is relevant now. Unless it’s your job, but if it is then you’re probably not a beginner!

When you’ve been making art and other things with your hands for most of your life ~ and especially if it’s so much a part of your daily life that you barely think about it any more, you just do it ~ it can be really easy to forget that The Beginning is often a very scary place to be!

At this point I have a good idea of the different fears that come up for people around art and creativity, simply from hearing it so much and seeing it hold people back.

ready to go

I know what it feels like to have started out expressing yourself creatively, as we all do in childhood, and then somewhere along the way losing that, for whatever reason {and there are many}.

And I also know that it can be very simple to start to bring that back into your life, how fun it is, how fulfilling it can be, how it can take you to places, bring you connections and reunite you with yourself in ways you never imagined. That is the foundation of what I share; that we might think it’s gone, but it’s only ever sleeping, and I know all sorts of ways to wake it up.

So creatively speaking, it’s really easy for me to forget just how paralysing those fears can be.


And then last weekend happened. If you saw my post about that here, you will be aware of just how much I had forgotten what being a beginner felt like. At the time it was pretty icky, but now I’m grateful that I fell down the Hole of Overwhelm and Fears for a little while {and no doubt will again}.

Starting anything for the first time, even if it’s something you really want to do, can be very scary, especially as an adult. It feels like there is so much more at stake somehow. I think also the more it means to you, the more fears you are likely to experience, and that’s exactly what happened to me.



My art and the ways that I share it ~ on this blog, on Instagram and Facebook mainly ~ have always been something I do for love. Selling work is fantastic, but I was more about the self-expression and the sharing. That is not something I find hard, until you introduce accountability and something with both potential value to others as well as monetary value into the mix!

I haven’t taught online before; I actually haven’t taught art in a structured way before, at least, not to adults! I am right at the beginning of this and it does bring up fear in me. I considered not admitting that ~ would I lose respect from my peers, or credibility as a teacher? would I seem weak? ~ but actually it’s perfect that this is all new to me and that’s why I’m sharing it.


Here is my mum being a courageous beginner

I am back in beginner’s mind, just as anyone who takes my course will be. Not about the same thing {that wouldn’t work so well!}, but the experience of fear around doing something new can I believe be something that unites us rather than separates us.

Being afraid doesn’t mean I don’t know things or can’t help you; it just means I know how you feel. And sometimes that’s all we really need.