Fear of Creating

by Melissa Borg
January 21, 2021

Last year and this year I decided to do a word of the year and paint the word so I can see it all the time. This year I started with a 4x6 canvas, which was waaaay to small for this idea. I scanned the room I was working in and saw that there was a nice piece of cardboard perfect for this idea.

Without hesitating I dropped the canvas and brought the cardboard to the table. I couldn't remember the last time I painted on cardboard nor stopped to think about what issues there could be working on it. I only knew I was ready to start the process and trusted in the impulse.

This year I chose the word "create" and decided to do something outside my comfort zone. Instead of doing calligraphy, which I know how to do, I decided I would make each letter represent different ways the creative process feels to me.

Painting of the word create each letter is a different symbol. C a ballon. R a stone rampart tower. E is stitched together. A a horse shoe and spike. T a sword in the stone. E a sulky yeti.
My 2021 word of the year creation.
  • C: balloon-like because when an idea first strikes or when you're in a creative flow everything feels fun, bright, and the process is light and easy. I used super shiny paint, sorry for the glare.
  • R: a tower room because being creative can be a steep climb up spinning steps but normally once you get to the top and rest a bit the ideas flow out.
  • E: embroidered since being creative takes time and planning each thread carefully.
  • A: a lucky horseshoe and an iron stake because you need both luck and fortitude to create.
  • T: the sword and the stone because sometimes ideas are stuck or buried and hard to pry out, but with perseverance, the sword can be yours.
  • E: a sulky Yeti because the Muses can freeze us out and pout for a bit making it difficult to create, but that too is part of the process.

I learned a few things while creating this:

  • When I get an idea I want to rush in and create.
  • I dislike stopping and planning what I'm going to do. I just want to slap paint on and go. Yet that same tendency leads me to abandon the project because I had no solid plan and I can't see what I want to have in the end.
  • I am hesitant to create something because I know that there are others who can do it better than me so I drag my feet or defer to them. In this case, my insanely talented husband.
  • To channel my creative side, I decided to focus on creating my own art without judgment or relying on my husband to do it for me.
  • Yet I'm not stupid enough not to understand how to leverage other's knowledge so I did ask his opinion on a few things and asked him to assist on a small part.

Where do you get stuck in creating something new? Are there tricks you use to help yourself get over those issues?


Melissa Borg

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2 comments on “Fear of Creating”

  1. Melissa's Husband here, I think she did an outstanding job. But I'm biased because I love her dearly.🥰

    But her message is true. Even I horribly struggle with Fear of Creating. And it's hard being as talented as I am and afraid to be creative.

    I've been taken advantage of so many times by individuals who think an artist work is for free and only have their talent ridiculed even when the work was prearranged to be paid. I now suffer anxiety attack when others ask me to create something for them because of it. So I simply don't create for others, even for my own wife. Its not her fault and I feel bad not creating things for her. But she's gradually helping me work past this. Telling me to "Hug my Monster."

    So, if you ever actually get something from me, count your blessings. Its a rare piece.

    1. Yes, hugging your monster is the best way to keep creating.

      Creating something is so personal that it can be hard when others take advantage of your work.

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