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Creative without Fear

Fear drives such a large part of the creative process, as I have known from being an artist as well as a designer who has been a part of the fashion industry for such a long time. Will this look good? Is it good enough? Is it trendy? Is it a viable design solution? Are the colors too vibrant? Are they too dark? Am I revealing too much? Am I being too inhibited? The fear of 'failing', of being rejected, of being ripped off, of being betrayed, the list goes on...This vulnerability and its power over a creative mind can be crippling. Often, many potentially great ideas die a slow death in an artist's/designer's mind, largely due to uncertainty, indecision or unnecessary doubts.

Some time ago, I came across a Facebook post about an inspired 5th grade art teacher named Charlotte. She noticed that many of her students were too weighed down by fear to let their creativity flow. It struck a chord with me immediately, reminding me of my own insecurities. Charlotte read to them an excerpt from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear”, which talks about the interwoven relationship of creativity and fear. As a result, she and the students created a “Fear Chair”. The dazzling purpose of this fear chair was to acknowledge and make all their “fears” sit there, thus allowing the children to freely create without the burden of a buried, nameless, unrecognized, yet clogging and stifling fear.

I love this ingenious concept of acknowledging one's fear, actually sitting it down and then, unencumbered, moving on to what one does best- being creative. And not letting the fear dictate the flow of ideas.


But this is in no way easy, as the very vulnerability that inhibits can also be the source of great art. The key lies in being able to distance the self enough to be unaffected , but close enough to be able to draw inspiration from those very fears.

So this is what I plan to do. Go ahead and be creative. Without fear.

Fear Chair from Charlotte Murphy to Elizabeth Gilbert

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