So here’s a scenario. You have an idea, and to bring it to life you’re going to be required to create something. Perhaps it’s a painting, a song, or a play. Maybe it’s a series for an exhibition, or illustrations for a children’s book, or a new design for a client’s bedroom. Something that’s going to require you to dive deep inside yourself and bring out something that has never existed before, and people are going to see it.

Do you:

a} jump for joy and then get down to it immediately, bringing it to life in one fluid, doubt-free and bliss-inducing flourish

b} start in a flush of enthusiasm and quickly run out of steam when you hit your first hurdle {which is way sooner than you thought, and must therefore be proof that you shouldn’t be doing this}

c} freak the hell out and put it on the back burner while you ‘wait for the right time’ or ‘just get this other thing done first’

If your answer is b} or c}, or b} AND c}, congratulations, you’re an artist! You win the opportunity to do the thing you want to do!

Whatever your art, I’m betting that you do not have a track record of always ticking a}. Sure, a} happens. But it tends to sneak up on you, so believing that that’s how it should be will never take you where you want to go. In fact it’s more likely to grind you to a halt in the face of all that pressure.

Fear is something that, as a creative, {and let’s face it, as a human being} you can expect to experience repeatedly throughout your life. If you’re making something out of nothing, there’ll be a voice in there somewhere saying you can’t because you’re actually a fraud, you’re not good enough to do it, certain people won’t approve or support you, strangers will think you’re an idiot, everything you make is shit and you’re wasting your time.

Sometimes it’s so loud you can’t remember why you actually wanted to create it in the first place.

And you can read about ‘busting through fears’ till the cows come home; you can have endless conversations with your inner critic; you can talk it through and journal and procrastinate and whatever else the fear makes you do. And most of those things can help, up to a point. Except maybe the procrastinating.

But truthfully? I have yet to find a more effective way to create the thing you long to create, be it a painting, a piece of music, a book, or a crocheted blanket, than to just do the thing.

‘Easy for you to say’, you might be thinking.

And yes, it’s easy for me to SAY, and still just as hard for me to DO when the fear is right there in my face telling me I have nothing of value to offer, that even if I think it’s good no one else will, that people will hate me for wasting their money buying what I made.

Those fears don’t go away. They can get quieter, and you can learn to take them less seriously, and carry on creating while they grumble away beside you, but if you’re waiting to not feel fear any more, you’ll never make that thing your heart so longs to make.

So here’s my best and most loving tip for dealing with the fear of creating:

do the thing

Yes, even while the fear screams in your ear and you make mistakes and take detours and worry about disappointing people and full on know for 100% sure that you are not good enough to do this.

Put all of that in a basket, put it down beside you, and do the thing. And keep doing it. Knowing your fears and where they come from is one thing, but being able to name, discuss and arrange them attractively on a shelf is not doing the thing.

It’s not about defiance. Anything that carries the energy of fighting {fighting the fear, fighting yourself, fighting other people’s opinions} is going to make the journey harder and the outcome less than you’d hoped. It’s about choice; I am scared AND I choose to do this. The choice empowers you; it doesn’t get rid of the fear, but trying to do that is fighting a battle you can’t win by fighting.

And you know what else? If you do the thing in spite of and alongside your fears, you win twice over; once because you’ve done the thing, and again because of the enormous sense of accomplishment that comes with knowing you were scared and you still did it.

Action is the foundational key to all success.


I know a lot about doing the thing while feeling scared to death about doing it. I wouldn’t call myself a pro, but my intimate knowledge of that particular feeling of terror, and still making things and sending them out into the world means that if you need some support in doing your thing, I might be able to help you.

The Creative Spark ecourse is a great place to start if you’re wanting to make art and be more creative but find that fear is holding you back. It comes with an invitation to join my private Facebook group for students and subscribers, where I can guarantee you’ll find a warm welcome and plenty of support and encouragement.

So let’s do this! Let’s do the thing, together!

PS. That image at the top of this post? That’s me, doing the thing that makes me freak out inside, that I have to build up to, and that always makes me feel kind of awesome after I’ve done it: photographing myself. In public. Dancing. Where people can see me. And ok maybe I’m partly disguised by a bundle of winter clothes on a grey day when less people are out, with headphones on for extra protection, but I did do it. And maybe that wouldn’t scare you, but for me it’s like running down the street naked with a spotlight on me. You know, just in case you thought I might not really get it. 😉

curiosity mantra