The Crippling Fear of Creation

When I was an illustrator, every single time I sat down at the drawing table, I was overcome with the crippling fear that I’d forgotten everything–how to build a figure, how to put down a line, how to turn a blank piece of paper into a finished piece. Every. Single. Time.

I know this is not uncommon.Now that I’ve pivoted to writing, it’s the same thing. Whenever I begin something new, there is that voice in my head that pushes against all my past work, all my confidence, and says, “The words will not flow.”

It’s terrifying, but I push past it.

And it’s never true. The words are always there if I but put the fingers on the keyboard and begin. You’d think, after all this time–after 30+ years of actively making art of one kind or another–this would not keep happening. But, it does.

At some point I guess you either accept the fear as part of the process or you let it cripple you. It makes me wonder what function that universal, personal terror actually has. Is there a misunderstood friction necessary for creation within it, or is it an essential anti-force without which our tenacity and determination to create would wither?

I dunno. I just keep going.