Getting Unstuck | Fight the fear

Image by Cathy Hutchison

The thing about art is that it is bi-directional.  Musicians need an audience, writers need readers, and visual artists need eyes to see what they’ve created and hearts to be moved by it. This bi-directional nature of art is terrifying for the artist.  Your art is deeply personal, and rejection of it is by extension a rejection of you.

Our friends celebrate our art. They see the beauty of our lyrics, our paintings, and our poetry because they love us.  But reaching across to connect with those who don’t know us is a different thing entirely.  What do we do when the recipient isn’t safe? The odds of rejection are high.  And that scares us.
For those of us designed to create, we have to fight a daily war on fear.  I love what Steven Pressfield writes in his book The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Are you a born writer? Were you put on earth to be a painter, a scientist, an apostle of peace? In the end the question can only be answered by action.

 Do it or don’t do it.

 It may help to think of it this way. If you were meant to cure cancer or write a symphony or crack cold fusion and you don’t do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself. You hurt your children. You hurt me. You hurt the planet.

You shame the angels who watch over you and you spite the Almighty, who created you and only you with your unique gifts, for the sole purpose of nudging the human race one millimeter farther along its path back to God.

Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution.

Give us what you’ve got.

The battle against fear is worth it because at our core this desire to create isn’t just a hobby it is a calling.  And there is purpose to that calling.  Will people reject you?  Of course. Because it is always easier to criticize than to look at a blank sheet of paper and pour yourself onto it. Critique without contribution should be measured as it is: a bid for power by those who refuse to create.  Critique by those who love us has value, because they know our capacity and want us to reach that. Don’t fear the critique.  Assess where it is coming from.

More importantly remember that you have a gift to offer that is uniquely you.  If you don’t create, something important goes missing.  And that is something we should all fear.

:::Read more of Cathy Hutchison’s posts in the Getting Unstuck series.:::

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