Fearing Our Own Creative Work

Write Write Write by the dreamy giraffe

The other day I sat down to make a writing schedule for myself.  I’d read for the four hundredth time how important it is for aspiring writers to set aside time every day to write and build up that creative discipline.

I weighed different time options in my head.  Morning?  If I wanted to do it before work, I’d have to get up at least by 6:00 am, maybe 5:30 if I wanted a good chunk of time.  And then once my office moves in a few months and I have a longer commute, probably more like 5:00.  That seems awfully early, and I can just see myself turning off the alarm and going back to sleep more often than not.

Okay, how about at night?  9:00 pm?  That’s when Anne Lamott talked about starting disciplined writing, and look at her.  Of course, then I’d have to skip out on evening snuggle and watch television time with my fiancee.  That seems like a bad idea – I like our evening routine, and it’s important for us to unwind after the workday.

Alright then, how about right after work?  5:00 every day?  Eh.  That’ll make it difficult to take care of the kids and their afterschool activities.

This is when I knew there was something else going on.

How? I don’t have kids.  I’m not pregnant.  I’m not even trying to get pregnant.

I was projecting out to some date years into the future on which my writing schedule would fail.

Why do we find every excuse (even ones that don’t exist) to keep ourselves from our creative work?

For a while I thought it was because I wasn’t really meant to be a writer, because I didn’t really want it.  But the more I dig into the resistance, the more I see it for what it is – fear.

Setting aside time for our own creative work is a frightening affair.

It touches on many of our scariest demons – vulnerability, selfishness, perfectionism.  That’s bound to be met with some reticence.  But it doesn’t mean you should jump ship.

No!  Now is the time to practice greeting that fear with strength – maybe just a little at first.  For me, it’s one day of sitting down with the blank paper.  And then it’s the next day.  Maybe for you it’s ten minutes of meditation or finally signing up for that painting class.

Whatever it is, don’t let fear keep you from your special creative work.

We’re stronger than that.

2 thoughts on “Fearing Our Own Creative Work

  1. Tara I have to thank you. I have been so uplifted by your posts as of late and today was no different. I have been doing much soul searching and path finding as of late and i can tell you that fear is my biggest obstacle. I appreciate so much your words of wisdom and sound strength. It is wondeful to know that even someone as esyablished as you has the same fears and struggles that I do!! Thank you for sharing and I wish you all the best!

  2. Could fear trick us into thinking we can’t do it at all if we can’t do it “this” way? Do we have too many rules about our creative expression? I struggle with the all or nothing, the guilt of not using the gift, enough. Does inspiration come on demand? Maybe for a writer to keep a journal of writing ideas, brainstorms, images, impressions, great descriptions, feelings… that are waiting to ripen on the day when you are drawn to the computer to compose, when you must write or pop. Maybe…

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