Somewhere in my mid-thirties, the fear of not doing something became greater than the fear of doing something. I was ready to jump in feet first not carrying to ever look back.
This fear reached its peak when I quit my job at an arts organization to work for myself. While I didn’t have a business plan, I did have 900 ideas about creative projects and services that I wanted to manifest. When I quit, I felt like I had to plunge into the mystery or risk never starting.
It has been a messy year and a half of making quilts and weavings; writing stories, a seasonal newsletter and blog posts; painting watercolors, cards, and ornaments; and running a woodland cottage rental among a few other things. I am so practiced at not using fear to keep me from doing something, that I keep doing everything!
Recently, I am trying to focus my efforts with purpose and intention. Hopefully by giving my creative outputs some direction, I will be able to develop a more useful and beneficial business. Here’s the catch. . .
Now my fear is popping up again. Now that I have real strategy and plans, I have more at stake. Now, I am constantly afraid that I won’t succeed. I am afraid that I am not good enough - that I am not relevant - that I am selfish in designing a business and life around my deepest joys. Listen to that! I am afraid of designing a life around my own joy--like I don’t deserve it. I am not worth my own joy! Calling any therapist to help me out with that one!
At this point, I am used to having fear around. I have made fear my sidekick and maybe that means that fear and I ride together into a sunset of business failure. Then so be it. At least, I will have tried. And for me the fear of not doing something is still greater than business ruin.
Afterall, if I was to hold all of this creative energy in, I’d be one ugly monster of a human.
In the past, my misplaced creativity manifested in being a not-so-pleasant or present Mom, shopping for the sake of shopping, and feeling small and judgemental of others.
So, maybe if I keep chugging with fear at my side, jumping into new projects (hopefully with a little more focus than before) something will happen. Hopefully, I will make something useful and purposeful for you.
What happens when you misplace your creativity? What are you afraid of?
Anna Lentz, artist and writer, blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.