Self Doubt and Creative Fear

A crazy thing happens. I think I’m not alone in this. I feel like I need to share it. So here it goes.

So I consider myself to be a highly creative person. I see the world through my unique lens that has been built from my physical locations and natural surroundings over the years and all that I’ve absorbed there, from the people I’ve encountered, from the stories I’ve read, from the films I’ve watched, from self directed learning I’ve done consistently and intentionally since my mid twenties when I ventured to develop myself further. I know that I have a unique view of the world, there is no way that anyone else would ever or could ever have the thoughts that are unique to me, although some may be similar or we may have tapped into the collective unconscious at the same time and received a similar message, but it will never be exactly the same. So if I know this to be true, if I know that there well and truly is only one me and only one version of me putting my filtered view into the world, then why do I feel doubt about my abilities?

I go through stages where I feel confident and creative and bold. Then when it comes time to releasing these to the public in any way, it’s like I rescind, I pull back, and then a storm of doubt about what I create, and a strong fear that I am not good enough to be putting my own stuff out there. It sucks. Honestly it really fucking sucks. It’s like I end up holding myself back because in my mind I am already judging that I will be judged. This robs me of the experience of having my creativity embraced, this robs the world of the change that I could possibly inspire. Theoretically I know this to be true, but the part that I can’t seem to get past is the experiential part of not having fear about what I create and share.

Earlier this year I made a first draft of a book based on my experience of living in Brazil, traveling through America in the late 2000s, and my first year in Australia. I announced it happily, and felt the joy of accomplishment. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for so long, and now I had a first draft. The thing is that I then started to add to it, and transcribe my old journals, and all of a sudden my first draft has been fully stretched out to be probably three separate books. I was waking up very early every morning with my husband who was recently working from home due to the coronavirus restrictions for covid-19 here in New South Wales. I’d get up in the 4am hour and work on it. I ended up asking for some help to get some of my journals transcribed because it was so emotional for me to go through them and I noticed that when I was caught up in the nostalgic emotion I didn’t allow the words to flow as easily. This was a really good idea because I wanted the ideas in an editable form rather than my handwritten journals so I could use them. Another great thing happened where I was invited to be a part of this intimate writers group on Facebook. I have such a love hate relationship with social media because I in almost equal parts want the connection and want the privacy, I want the exposure and I detest the biases and close mindedness that happens with viral stuff. I stayed with it and wrote more. The thing is though that during the lockdown and now part of this writers group, and now with some of my old journals being transcribed, my kiddos got sick and a cold circulated through our house which lasted weeks, and we even got tested for covid, which came back negative, and it was a trying time.

I was also invited to be a part of a group of these awesome spiritual women and gave a presentation/workshop on Core Value Clarity during Venus Retrograde 2020. That felt so nourishing showing up to these weekly online meetings with women from all around the world talking about spirituality and connectedness and our shadows. It was brilliant. I very much had self doubt going into it. When I was asked if I would present, I was blown away that I would be asked, then accepted, and reeled in self doubt during the first presenters only event and it only started to dissipate towards the end, after about 5 weeks in. I came down with a cold and pushed through it to present and I really enjoyed myself. I felt totally in the flow, I felt like I was offering tremendous value, and I got great feedback from the session. I only pushed through though because I was scheduled and people were counting on me to show up, so I did.

At home, which I am lucky enough to be at home with our youngest child, even after our older son went back to school with the restrictions lifted a few weeks ago, I am busy. I take these moments like right now during nap time to do my own stuff. I haven’t been waking up early, I completely got out of the habit when our family got sick, and then again when I had to have a root canal out of the blue during this time as well. I don’t know if I’m just making excuses, or if I could really find more time to write and do my own thing, but my life is pretty busy attending to the needs of my family. I am the only one who cooks in my house and I keep the house tidy, not necessarily clean, but I do clean when it gets to be too dirty. My husband does the laundry which I totally appreciate, because if I’m honest I think that doing most housework is mundane and a chore even though I have tried again and again to reframe my mind to think of it as a privilege that I even get to have a house that I get to clean and to have a family that I get to clean up with. I can usually think of a million other things I’d rather do than mop the floors or clean the toilet. It feels like I have this small amount of time every day and I need to use it as best I can. Sometimes I have such high expectations about what I “should” get done, and some days I am just tired and I need to chill, so I’ll read, or take nap time as the opportunity to text a friend, or sometimes I just want to watch musicians on YouTube with my headphones and just get lost in the music for a moment.

So back to the doubt and fear. I have this book, this project that I have the bulk of it done and yet I have fear around finishing it and moving forward. The contradictory part of all of this is that I can see that if I do this well, it could easily be made into a movie or a few movies. My fear is that if I don’t do a good enough job then it won’t get the legs and wings it needs to fly further than me just doing some kind of self publishing job. Sometimes I think it’s just a narcissistic exercise writing about my life and experiences, and that stops me too. Like who cares what my life experience has been? Who cares how these moments have impacted me? Who cares if these emotions are real to me but maybe aren’t to someone else? Who cares if I do it? Who cares if I don’t do it? That last question is probably the biggest. Who cares if I don’t finish this book? It’s me. I care. I care so fucking deeply about this that I’m welling up with water in my eyes and a knot in my throat because that cannot happen, I must finish this book and fucking get on with it. Push past the fear. I need to be held accountable though, I need to know that someone is counting on me, and maybe I just need to realise that it’s me counting on me to do the work.