Combating creative anxiety can be very difficult, especially for new artists and creators. It can take some time to get our feet wet and the ball rolling.
I was in my first band in high school. I used to get stage fright very, very badly. It was so bad that I would completely blank out, forget where I was and everything I was doing.
The worst part was that this could hit me at any time. This led to many embarrassing moments of songs missing lyrics and bass lines. It went away as time went on, but it was one of the scariest parts of making art in my teen years.
What is Creative Anxiety?
Making art isn’t always easy. You have to learn a craft, gain experience, and produce your work. You spend your time, and money, and emotional vitality making your creations.
Where there are difficulties, there are bad feelings. There are fears of failure, or embarrassment. Works of a personal nature can bring about intense vulnerability.
These feelings can be paralyzing for people, myself included. I have spent a lot of time avoiding my creativity in my life. I feared failure so badly that I could not even begin to think about creative work.
Creative anxiety can rear its head in many forms. There is classic stage fright. There is the fear to feel vulnerable, which can keep us from starting. Impostor syndrome makes us doubt our experiences. There is a form of anxiety for each step of the creative process.
Since the first theme of January is Getting Started, I wanted to give some advice about anxiety. I feel that anxiety may be the biggest factor (or maybe just a symptom) people have when it comes to reaching their goals.
Tips For Relieving Creative Anxiety
Keep what you want in mind. You have things to do and goals to meet. Sometimes it is be to keep you mind on the task at hand and just keep going.
Keep what you need in mind. We are all seeking meaning and fulfillment. If you didn’t care, you probably wouldn’t be anxious. Think about what your creations do for you on a personal level.
Talk to a friend about how you are feeling. A little support goes a long way. You may be surprised by the advice given by others.
Think about your past successes. You have most likely survived this intensity of anxiety before. It typically goes away after we get started.
Think about your future successes. Consistency and perseverance gives the best rewards. We should always be striving to progress.
Brainstorm new ideas and strategies to reach your goals. Sometimes a new plan is all it takes.
Go for a walk or exercise. Physical activity can be great stress relief. Take a break, clear your head, then go back and try again.
Do something silly. Creative anxiety often comes from the ego. Being able to laugh, especially at yourself, can have grand effects.
Look at some funny pictures and quotes. Sometimes a good chuckle is a great pick me up.
Remember that it is okay to feel anxious. It happens to the best of us. All of the best things in life are won through a battle of anxiety.
Go to what inspires you. This could be as simple as a favorite song, or pictures of friends and family. A break of inspiration can be enough to get you over the hump.
Read More About Anxiety
I am not a doctor. While anxiety is a common and natural emotion, it can also be the sign of something bigger. What I have listed above are my personal rules for fighting anxiety. However, my strategy may not work for everyone.
For further reading about anxiety, please reference the following links:
What Do You Think?
Do you ever get nervous when it comes to making art? What are your best tips for combating creative anxiety? Let me know on social media!