How To Tackle Insecurity In Creative Pursuits

How To Tackle Insecurity In Creative Pursuits

I realized this morning that I have been working on my little passion project/book for an entire seven months now. That is a huge deal for me. I am the queen of starting multiple projects all at once, not focusing enough on either of them only to eventually give up. I have stuck to this project for six solid months. I’ve opened the document (almost) every day for roughly 210 days. Some days adding a sentence, other days 10 pages. But I’ve stuck to it. The only way I’ve made it this far and the only way this book was even able to begin was facing my insecurities and saying:

“I’m allowed to suck at this.”

Personally, what has always held me back from chasing creative pursuits and dreams is insecurity. Nobody wants to be bad at something they love. We want to be excellent, we want to be praised and validated and successful! But that is a lot of pressure, isn’t it? I think it can be so easy to get caught up in the final product or in what you want your creation to mean to others that you forget why you’re doing it in the first place.

But why did I start writing a book?

Because I desperately wanted to. Writing is a release for me. But the writing I’m most comfortable with is poetry. Writing fiction was something I had never done. I had only ever put my energy and efforts writing-wise into poetry, (I guess my blogging counts too) the theme of which was always – based on my real-life experiences. Real-life vulnerability is the easiest thing for me to tap into when I sit down to write, it’s something I’m passionate about and comfortable with. But the difficult thing with poetry is that I can only successfully write it during random instances of inspiration. It’s very inconsistent. But I love writing. And on one particular day in March, I had the itch to write. But no real-life inspiration to pull from. I felt defeated and restless.

Finally, I opened a document and decided to try something different. What if I tried writing a story? Something completely made up. Fiction…?

I stared at the screen blankly for a few minutes. “I can’t do this.” “I don’t even know what to say.” “How do people start books?” “What kind of stories do people like to read?” And then I remembered a message I had recently heard (via the lovely Amie McNee aka @inspiredtowrite on Instagram):

You’re allowed to make bad art.

I realized – it doesn’t matter what people want to read. It doesn’t matter what people think of my story. People don’t have to ever read it. I don’t have to show anyone. This is not my career, it’s my hobby.

This can be just for me.

After sitting with those thoughts, the first sentence of my story came out. I refused to overthink it, I refused to edit anything right away. I was determined to enjoy the process and treat it like something that I was doing purely for my enjoyment. I created a scene, a story, a character. Her name was the first name that came to my head, I almost over thought it but I didn’t. I let it come to me, and it did! When I let go of the insecurity and fear of outside opinion, the story blossomed.

By the end of that initial writing session, I felt so much joy! I was doing something I had never done before. I was writing fiction! and – I loved it.

On that first day, I spent a solid 3 hours straight writing. I think I wrote 10 pages in that time frame. I gave myself grace. I let go of the second-guessing. I reminded myself: this can be for me and no one else. No one has to read my story. I don’t have to show anyone. That mantra is what has allowed me to get this far.

I’m not saying that I don’t want to share my story with the world — I honestly kind of do want to share it, someday, maybe! But I refuse to commit to that idea while I’m still in the (first draft) writing process. I tell myself every day that I will never let anyone read this story (except for my husband because…well, I needed someone I could talk about it with!) and even though I know at this point, that is probably untrue, it is the only way for me to let go of my insecurities and simply write and allow the story to unfold. Editing and opening myself up to outside criticism will eventually be the next step. But if I let my fear of criticism hold me back, my story would have never had a chance at existing, to begin with.

Allowing yourself to make something that could potentially suck is freeing. Your story/hobby/creative pursuit doesn’t have to be good it just has to be – exist.

If I had never taken that first step of allowing myself to create something potentially bad, I would have never gotten started to begin with.

I would have never experienced the joy of completing a scene I could see so vividly in my mind but struggled to put to words.

I would have never known how delightful, comforting, and fun!!! it can be to write fiction!

I challenge you to think about a creative pursuit you’ve been wanting to do but haven’t started yet. Think about what’s actually stopping you.
Is it insecurity? Fear of failure? What if you let go of perfectionism and simply allowed yourself to create something, without expecting it to be good but rather just allowing it to “be”? What would you create? I encourage you to try!

 

Sending love & light,

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