7 Scary Reasons Not To Pursue Your Creative Path And How to Make Friends With These Monsters
Following your creative passion can be a damn daunting thing to do for many reasons.
I put it off for the longest time, but when I finally did face all the scary reasons not to do it (by tackling a daily painting challenge), I learned how to make friends with the fear instead and, that if you let it, your fear will teach you a thing or two.
As a Halloween Baby, I put a little halloween spin on these creative learnings. Halloween (or Samhain for any fellow witchy women out there) is after all one of the only times in the year where we embrace “the scary” and celebrate it.
Reason #7 not to pursue your creative path: Being Dead Broke
Being strapped for cash while you try to make a go of your creative dream and possibly ending up dead broke down the line is a legitimate reason why we avoid taking the plunge.
I decided if Zombies can get by ‘dead’, then I’ll figure out how to get by “dead broke”. As it turns out artists can feed off of brains too. Brain fuel that is – ie. using your brains and being resourceful. I’m making it work with various side gigs, accepting help when offered (this one was rather hard for me) and living with a LOT less (not as hard as you’d think).
Tada – the undead artist is born.
MAGIC SPELL: DON’T GET SPOOKY, GET SPUNKY!
Drop a comment if you also had or are hustling side jobs to feed your art.
Reason #6 not to pursue your creative path: Being Judged For Being “Behind”
Being judged for not being “where you should be by now” can hold us back for ages and ironically, just makes your fear deepen as it seems to come more true.
It’s hard deviating from the publicly accepted norm. I worried that if I jumped in now at age 32 to pursue a thing I felt could be my thing (because when is there ever certainty) and got off the corporate ladder that it would mean putting a definite and maybe even permanent hold on the ‘maybe house’, ‘maybe kids’ and or occasional travel.
But what would any of those structures in my life mean if they weren’t framed around a life I wanted to be in?
So in asking myself where exactly it was that I should be I tapped into the powers of the werewolf, a much-maligned creature, that often finds itself transforming when it’s less than ideal to do so.
How can the creative pursuit benefit from this?
By becoming an ‘awarewolf’.
Deep down you know what really matters to you. If you let that awareness guide you, you’ll be less in the orbit of other deemed important planets, and far happier traipsing around howling at your own moon.
MAGIC SPELL: BEHIND TO YOU IS ME NOT HAVING REGRETS ‘ IN HIND SIGHT’
Reason #5 not to pursue your creative path: Am I wasting my life?
Having “wasted time” or worse “wasted your life” pursuing something that might never become anything more is a real thing.
We often feel this way – if things don’t progress in a chronological upward curve (who’s curve btw?) then it was a “waste of time”.
But the Grim Reaper will tell you the true death of your life was in the time you spent putting off pursuing your creative curiosities and carries the ultimate penance – regret. And that’s grim indeed.
Besides, as John Lennon says it (and I’m paraphrasing here) time you’ve enjoyed “wasting”, is not wasted time after all.
MAGIC SPELL: THE DEATH OF CONVENTION IS THE BIRTH OF MY PURPOSE
Reason #4 not to pursue your creative path: What if I have no potential?
Bumping up against a wall (or multiple granite plinths) of self-doubt and/or realisations of being potentially potential-less can halt anyone’s creativity in their tracks.
What sounds like self-pity to an outsider can be a crippling thing to face if you have ‘perfection’ tendencies. The worst part is – the more you repeat it to yourself – the bigger and more real a fear becomes.
You know who else makes good use of repetitive phrases? Witches. While folklore may attribute their magic to potionary of sorts – witches are in truth a very literal and sometimes exaggerated manifestation of individuals who aren’t afraid of using their powers; powers of persuasion that is.
So instead of casting yourself some dooming spells, repeat good magic phrases to yourself – again and again until you believe them.
I went with “With every day you’ll be better than you were yesterday.” That way I was reminding myself that
1) in order to improve I have to start
2) the only person I’m comparing myself to is myself
This kind of repetition quickly turns insurmountable granite plinths of self-trepidation, that you think someone else put there (but really it was you) into granite pillars of self-worth realisation.
You’re doing your thing for only you. And You Can. You can. You can.
MAGIC SPELL: I AM THE SOURCE OF ALL MY CREATIVE SOURCERY
Reason #3 not to pursue your creative path: What will I miss out on?
Having to say ‘no’ to all the social life stuff (and the hidden sub reason – not actually having the discipline to control your fomo) does sneak into the mix.
This is probably not so much a scary reason or legitimate internal creative fear as a vapid reason your ego manufactures as a reason because the previous reasons are too scary to deal with.
Luckily the daily implementation of pursuing your creative path will, in a weird way, solve this hesitation one for you. You soon won’t have the funds to splurge on your social life. (ha!)
And no bucks in the bank essentially forces you to have the self discipline to say no.
You quickly realise what’s essential.
But there’s no way around it – pursuing your creative path can be a fairly lonely road to walk.
Don’t think of it as killing off your social life – you’re just mummifying yourself for a while.
At some point, you’ll be able to unravel your cocoon again. The hibernating internal transformation will all have been worthwhile. And true friends will understand.
MAGIC SPELL: I’M NOT SAYING NO TO FUN, I’M SAYING YES TO MY FUNDAMENTALS
Reason #2 not to pursue your creative path: What if I Fail Miserably?
What if I can’t pull it off and somehow fail miserably and publicly at that? A definite concern, especially if you’re posting your challenge daily on Instagram (like I did)
First off – define failing for yourself. For me it wasn’t not posting a painting a day – my commitment and self-determination levels to do a thing, once decided upon, are pretty intense.
For me failing meant posting a painting that I did not think met any standards of ‘good’. I have stupid AF standards of perfection – crippling at times. Those are hard for me to accept, but also good for me to practice kindness to myself over.
Here’s what I realised. If I or you should ‘fail’ and in the case of something like a public daily challenge, fail in front of other people, reality’s response would be different to the fear in my head.
Fear in my head says hundreds of humans are going to point and laugh and ridicule your pathetic attempt. (awful but sound familiar?)
Reality is by far more awesome.
In reality, if you ‘fail’ or just decide to stop because it’s no longer for you (which is also hella cool and hella brave), then hundreds of people will have seen you try something.
We all just want to be loved and acknowledged and recognised for who we are.
You sitting up to do your creative thing – no matter how far you get or how it unfolds, will not ever lead to public failure. It will lead to public truth.
You sharing your journey of creative pursuit will cultivate a two way street of inspiration – and it really will not matter which branches fall off in the process.
MAGIC SPELL: THE RISK TO FAIL IS INSPIRATION IN A HALLOWEEN COSTUME
Reason #1 not to pursue your creative path: What if the tedium kills me?
This might sound like a strange one at first, but let me share 2 quick things about me that will help you understand where this fear came from.
1. I overthink things to a very deep level – and thus I can sort of envision or live quite far into a scenario before any of it has actually happened.2. I get bored very easily. Not in the ‘there’s nothing to do sense’ – there is ALWAYS so much that could be done. Rather in the ‘once I’ve gotten a sense of something or figured it out’ I want to move onto the next challenge.
So I foresaw the pockets of time where it would just be a matter of sticking to it and plodding along, itchy feet be damned. And that was scary for me – not being able to bolt in another direction.
But tedium doesn’t kill. Dracula does a lot of waiting around, also in a fairly confined box. But you know what does kill him? A stake through the heart. The stake being the less fulfilling job you stay in wishing you were in the box of your craft. Because even when you’re dealing with some tedium at least its a tedium of your choosing.The super macabre analogy that gets you through it is drinking up the blood that is your creative life force. I think that’s kind of cool – you keep you alive. You doing you keeps your heart beating.
MAGIC SPELL: MY VISION IS BIGGER THAN THE TEDIOUS POCKETS OF TIME IN BETWEEN
And that’s it – those are my 7 halloween inspired reasons not to pursue your creative path and how to overcome and learn from these scary buggers instead!
Go do your creative thing! Do a 10 day challenge, a 30-day challenge or heck – go all in and do a 365 challenge.
The trick is doing you daily. Everything else is just boogiemonsters under your bed!
Header Image Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash