How to Let Go of Creative Anxiety and Tap into Your Creative Confidence - Becca Piastrelli

Creative Confidence

There was a time when I would feel so much anxiety and panic in my body whenever I would attempt any sort of creative project.

It would start with feeling a lot of confusion when looking at or listening to directions on how to create something. My brain would purposely muddle all the words together and send me a message that this was going to be too complicated to complete and I would likely f*ck it up.

It would take a lot of internal pep-talking to get me pick up the supplies and start creating. Some days the pep talks would work and some days I would walk away in frustration and find something else easier to do.

On the days the pep talks worked, I would dive in and allow my hands to find their way.

As my fingers would get the hang of it, my breath and heartbeat would quicken with excitement and I’d start giggling and moving faster. This is that magical moment I live for when the magic of making awakens inside of you and you can feel the creative blood flowing through you once again.

For me (and likely for some of you), that moment of excitement felt a little scary for my inner perfectionist - the part that is terrified of messing up.

Excitement with Creating + Fear of Messing Up = Creative Anxiety

Creative anxiety can show up in a few ways:

Rushing through the process as quickly as possible so it can be done and completed. This is usually a way for your inner perfectionist to get through the process of being in the “messy middle” of the creative process, where it’s just you and your creative intuition at play. There are very little rules and parameters in this messy middle and your inner perfectionist is likely very uncomfortable with this state, so she attempts to avoid these feelings by rushing you through the process as quickly as possible.

Getting part of the way through your creative process and having a panicky meltdown. Usually the meltdown is over the fact that you aren’t sure what the final outcome will be (or that you are quite certain it won’t look the way you want it to or pictured it to) that you bail completely.

Engagement Avoidance. Looks something like this: Setting a creative date with yourself, putting out all the supplies, checking your email, watching a few episodes of The Bachelor, checking instagram, making a snack, and oops you ran out of time so maybe you’ll try making something tomorrow.

When you allow creative anxiety to run the show and prevent you from exploring your creative curiosity, you miss out on the beautiful, soul nourishing experiences that await you.

As someone who is very familiar with creative anxiety and who has worked with many people who experience it as well, I can tell you that it’s nothing you can’t get past.

All it requires is creating some space for you to slow down your brain and calm your body so you can reconnect with the joy of creating.

I do this through a little creative ritual.

When I say “ritual”, I’m not talking about big, ornate cultural or religious events. I’m referring to simple actions that connect us to ourselves, our intentions, and the present moment. These simple yet powerful rituals slow you down and connect you to this moment here and now. They help you enter flow state, the state of being where you’re actually not thinking, not aware of anything other than the act of what you are doing.

If I’m feeling a little doubt-y or rush-y in my head before diving into a creative project, I perform the ritual of making myself a pot of tea.

This involves choosing a teapot from my tea cupboard - usually it’s my dark blue teapot that comes with a handknit cozy or the gold teapot that used to be my grandmother’s. I put a kettle of water on the stove and choose a tea from the many tins and baskets in my tea cupboard while the water boils. I slip the loose tea into tea bag and twist it two times to secure it before plopping it in the teapot. When the kettle whistles, I pour the steaming water into the pot and cover it to steep for at least 10 minutes. While the tea is steeping, I choose a mug to sip my tea out of and place it on the counter while I stare out the kitchen window at the birds flitting about the backyard from tree to tree. When the tea is ready, I bring the pot and cup over to my workspace and gently pour the steaming tea into the cup - inhaling its aroma and taking deep breaths. I sip the tea and get to work.

This ritual practice helps me counteract creative anxiety. In the coming weeks, I'm going to share something even more powerful to help you bust out of creative anxiety and cultivate your own creative confidence.

If you are prone to experience bouts of creative anxiety, and don’t want to let that hold you back any longer from living a creative life, then I recommend cultivate your own creative rituals.

They can be as simple as:

  • Brewing and drinking tea or coffee
  • Taking a walk outside in your neighborhood
  • Meditating for 5-20 minutes
  • Pulling out a journal and writing down everything that’s swimming in your head in a brain dump on paper so you can feel refreshed to begin
  • Taking 5 deep breaths {in for 6 counts, hold for 2 counts, out for 8 counts}
  • Having a personal dance party to shake out all your nervous and anxious energy

What about you? Have you ever experienced creative anxiety before? Do you have creative rituals of your own? I’d love to read about it.

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