Creativity Killers: Fear

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This is the third creativity post in a series by guest contributor, Patricia Ryan. Previously, we were talking about getting more ideas to brew.

“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” – Newton’s Third Law of Motion. In other words, every creative impulse you have will stir up an opposing force to try and stop you from doing it. Usually this manifests as a thought or voice in your head saying something like one of these statements: “I don’t have any creative or artistic talent; I’m not any good at doing this; I’m not going to like what I come up with; No one else is going to like what I do.” I call all these statements fears because I believe they’re all based in fear, the first and foremost negative emotion. We all have fears, and we all let them guide us in our choices. But these aren’t practical, experience-based, life-preserving fears, like “Don’t drink and drive;” they are the unconscious universal resistance to every kind of forward motion—including all creative activity.

Just as gravity fights you every time you lift your foot to take a step forward, this impersonal, omnipresent fear will oppose you every time you want to learn new skills, to increase your knowledge about the things you’re interested in, and most of all, to do things, to make things, and to accomplish things.

To overcome this opposition to your creative desires, all you need to do is, when it tries to stop you, push right back—and start creating anyway. Remember, this is about either you doing something you already know you like to do, or you trying some new activity because you hope to make something you want. This isn’t about anyone else, or what anyone else might like. This is about you exercising your adult human right to choose what to do for your own enjoyment, with your time and your energy. How do you develop the strength to keep going? You just need to recognize that this resistance doesn’t have any intelligence or purpose behind it, and then do what you want in spite of it.

The secret of fear is, just as gravity is what makes our muscles strong, our bones dense, and our heart and lungs healthier and more resilient, this universal opposing force is what sharpens our senses, clarifies our desires, and strengthens our resolve—to create!

Next time: Fear, Part 2

©2013 by Patricia M. Ryan, a multi-media artist in Beavercreek, OR, and the author of “First Aid For Your Menopause Emotions“. You can see her art at



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