Glenna Mageau, Award Winning Author, Speaker, Writing Coach
What is it that makes creativity and fear want to hang out together?
When we write or do some other creative craft, or want to, it’s like we go back in time to all that we were taught and wonder if what we are doing is okay? We were taught rules—how things had to be done, how to make it fell within certain guidelines or how to make it perfect.
If you’re a writer you were taught how to write a sentence but not just any sentence, a perfect one—perfect length, perfect spelling, perfect grammar, perfect punctuation, perfectly interesting, perfectly active…
We were taught rules. If you’re an artist what’s one of the first things you were taught? To color inside the lines. We were taught so many rules about how things were supposed to be and if we didn’t there were consequences. Not following those rules, especially if you are older than 40-45ish, might have meant: you got a red pen marking up your English paper or assignment; you might have been ridiculed in class; or you might have been yelled at. Most people I don’t think got the strap or spanked because of not following the rules for creativity but that kind of punishment was a thing. It was given out, sometimes at the whim of a teacher or a parent.
For many of us, I think we have connected not following the rules with judgment and harsh consequences. We were taught things had to be perfect before we let anyone else see them and if they weren’t then something would happen. There could or would be some sort of reprisal – red ink, yelled at… other.
Never given the opportunity?
There are a lot of reasons why we really struggle with our creativity. If you’re in your 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, plus, you were probably never given the opportunity to just be creative. To just let your imagination take you away. To just have fun with it and not worry about what it looked like or sounded like or if it fit in with all the guidelines. There were always the rules and regulations of how you had to do it. If you were fortunate not to have this restriction applied directly your craft, it was generally applied to all other areas of your life. Especially for women. Women were really taught how to do this, how to do that, when to do this, when to do that and be perfect while doing it. Image was everything.
Image was everything
We learned it was important to be and do perfect.
As women we learned to do… and be… perfect, but not how to let ourselves just enjoy what we were doing and to let ourselves be free. If we did we had to make sure it was just right before anyone else saw it. And getting to that point is often what stops us from really doing anything with our creative craft. It is a lot of work and stress to make things perfect. Too often we feel like we are failing before we’ve even started.
We are learning and there is a yearning to free that creative, playful side of ourselves. But… with that comes fear—the fear of judgment, the fear of not doing it perfect, the fear of who am I… Just fear. We don’t often even know why we’re feeling it, we just are. We’re scared that there will be some reprisal of some sort – from overwhelm to judgement to failure to success…
Now that we are in our 40 plus years, we are looking to get back in touch with that creative side of ourselves. But it’s scary.
“You can break the rules,
you can step outside of that comfort zone
and be safe.”
I know how tough it is.
Believe me, I know how tough it is but I did it, so I know you can too. I was petrified what other’s would think. And I had this constant thought, ‘who am I…” I realized though that I could just play at my writing, my creative side, or I could take the leap. I took the leap. Why?
In 2008, I lost two people very dear to me and I almost lost a 3rd. The sad truth was that these people left this world with regrets. In fact, that was some of the last words I ever spoke to them was about things they had wished they had done. How sad that they carried that dream with them their whole life and couldn’t find the courage to step forward and do it. Some of the things they shared were small, like I wish I had gone to this place or that place but some were bigger, I wished I had… followed my dream.
It broke my heart but also woke me up to the fact that if I kept on the path I was on, I would be living with regret which means when my day comes, I’d be leaving with regret. I didn’t want that. I wanted to explore and discover all that is possible for me.
So I took the leap.
The truth is
We’ve kept ourselves playing small and safe. We’ve kept ourselves… inside a box. One that was created a long time ago.
You no longer need to stay within it. You are at an age and stage where it is time to break free.
So how do you break free?
- Decide what creative venture you want to pursue.
- Find someone who can teach you.
- Find someone to hold your hand – very much recommend
this last one. You have probably felt like you have to do it
alone, you don’t. It is so much funner and easier with a friend.
- Start playing with your craft. See what really appeals to you about it. Explore it.
- Look for opportunities of what you can do with it. Think outside of the box.
- Take the leap, believe me you are safe.
- Join a group of like minded women, they will understand your fears and your frustrations.
- Know that this is the right journey for you.
- Find someone to guide you.
- Have fun with it. It truly is okay.
We’ve connected things we shouldn’t have.
I always think of Sesame Street – one of these things is not like the other. One of these things doesn’t belong.
Fear does not belong with writing or any other creativity. It is time to shed the fear and realize that our creativity is our gift. It is perfectly okay to explore them, express them and share them.
Step into your creativity.
It truly is time for change. Time to let go of fear and embrace joy and fun and peace and connect that to your creativity. Writing is meant to be fun. Step into your creativity, step into the freedom of expression, allow yourself to break the rules… and write, draw, paint… be creative.
Fear and creativity do not need to hang out together any longer. It is your time to shine.
Are you ready to take the leap?