How to Defeat Enemies of Creativity

For the past two weeks, one topic has been woven through my reading and conversations: the enemies of creativity. As I read and talked about these enemies, I noticed their footprints in my own life.

Fear of Failure

I write as a creative outlet. It has been fun to create content for this blog, but fear of failure has been a constant companion all along the way.

I can’t even define what failure would be for this writing project, but analytics bring this fear out in full force. I know Twitter followers, Facebook likes and page views shouldn't keep me from writing, but sometimes they do.

The Inner Critic

My wife and I just finished reading Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk by Danielle Krysa. She puts into words what I’ve been feeling for years. At the beginning of chapter 6, she describes the inner critic with remarkable clarity.

“Oh that voice–it is the root of so much trouble. It shows up with cruel comments, snarky jabs, and is always armed with a long list of reasons and excuses for quitting. It prevents talented people from doing amazing things, often stopping the flow of creativity before it even starts. It sits on your shoulder whispering hurtful words that plant the poisonous seeds of self-doubt. What a jerk that inner critic is. But wait, I have good news. Your inner critic isn’t in charge; you are.”

If you aspire to create anything at all, go buy this book and read it. It’s worth your time.

Imposter Syndrome

It’s natural for me to see talented writers with huge followings, brilliant insights and well-loved work; and instead of being encouraged by their success, I’m discouraged. I feel small, like I’m not a real writer, like I’m an imposter.

I don’t aspire to be a full-time writer, but I do enjoy creating. I love writing things that help other people learn, and I love hearing when somebody is encouraged by my work. I can’t allow feeling like a fake to keep me from creating.

Is It Just Me?

I believe these enemies are common among creatives of all types and levels of success. They are present in my life and in the life of every creative person I’ve talked to about this. You and I are not alone.

How Can We Overcome Them?

There is one way I know to overcome these three enemies: create no matter what.

For me that's sitting down and beginning to write. For you it may look different. These enemies should not keep me from writing, and they shouldn't prevent you from developing or painting or creating whatever you create.

You can do it. Defeat the enemies of creativity by making something new today.

Header image from Unsplash.