Be More Creative

How to Recognize and Fight Creative Anxiety


creative anxiety

creative anxiety


What keeps you from making your art

? Do you find yourself constantly avoiding making art.  Does putting your butt in the chair fill you with anxiety and fear?

HOLY CRAP! There’s a monster trying to kill your creativity! This force is trying to break all of us in the creative world. This monster made of fear and sadness attempts to cripple us every day. ANY thought that distracts, bullies or seduces us away from our daily creative work comes from creative anxiety.  Once we see it for what it is, we can fight back and finally do the word we were born to do.

Creative Anxiety:  A field guide for recognizing and controlling

Recognizing Creative Anxiety

Creative anxiety consists of any thought, emotion, behavior or external event that keeps you from making your art.  It wants you to skip your writing for some episodes of Spaced on Netflix. Creative anxiety makes you think you can’t be creative when you feel down or when someone has upset you.  It tries to get you distracted and confused.  It whispers to you, convincing you that you have nothing to say and that everyone will laugh at you.  Creative Anxiety fills you with guilt about the things you are not doing in order to work on your creative passion.

How to fight Creative Anxiety

Step 1: Reframe

When we choose to look at something from a different angle, we are reframing. Reframing is a powerful cognitive tool for increasing well-being throughout your life but it is especially effective in shutting down the beast.

When we feel creative anxiety starting to sabotage our daily creative work, we can reframe.  ANY thought that distracts, bullies or seduces us away from our daily creative work can be reframed.

I know i feel anxious about getting started today but it’s just creative  anxiety trying to knock me off my game. The more it tries to keep me from a creative activity, the more important that activity is.” 

Creative anxiety a compass.

The more self-defeating, anxiety-ridden, fear you feel, the closer you are to the project you should be working on.


Step Two:  Get to Work

Once you reframe, you need to sit down and do the work.  This battle will happen every day.  Each time you overcome creative anxiety and actually get to work, you strengthen your creative habit, your work gets better and the fear doesn’t sound so real next time it tries to attack.

That attack will come tomorrow by the way…and every day after that.  You can not kill.

You can only win the battle, one day at a time.

Creative Anxiety is a natural part of the creative process.  Making art means being vulnerable and immersing yourself in uncertainty.  Creative anxiety is the brain’s response to this.

Steven Pressfield, author and Jedi expert on creativity, calls THE BEAST! something else.   He calls it Resistance (I prefer THE BEAST!, it’s more horrifying).  He is the author of  two books that every creative person should buy, read, and reread, The War of Art and Turning Pro.  Check him out here.

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