No one talks about how hard it is to be a creative person. Actually, no one talks about how hard it is to do anything. Of course, we talk a lot about how busy we are, and how it's hard to fit everything into the day. But that's just the ego at work; we get kudos for being so industrious. We usually don't get praise, however, for being quiet, thoughtful, and artistic.
After I graduated from my master's program, it took me awhile to decide what I wanted to do next — the 3,000 hours of experience needed before sitting for the therapist licensing exam seemed insurmountable at the time, especially after just completing 2 1/2 years of school. I started a creativity coaching business while I was still school, and I decided to give entrepreneurialism a try. It was a bumpy path. The first business development workshop I went to resulted in me breaking down in tears. No one else was crying; they all seemed to have it together. I didn't get why I was the only one feeling apprehensive and intimidated.
Later I asked a friend about this — we were both part of a co-working organization for women in business. Her reply was: "We all feel scared, but no one talks about it."
I find this is also true for many writers, artists, and musicians. It's sometimes hard to admit to our fears, worries, and anxieties, even to ourselves.
Here's the thing, though — that squishy, vulnerable place we avoid in ourselves is also the seat of our creativity. And when we expose it to the light, it allows others to reveal their vulnerable sides, too. And that connects us. I think this might be the je ne sais quoi of great art. What makes something meaningful is also what makes it scary.
If you're feeling isolated in your creative anxieties, you're not alone. Seek out help and support where you can (one brave woman at that co-working space created a FailCon, where we all got together monthly to talk about our biggest disappointments — it was fantastic). There are other people out there who feel scared, too. I think the best remedy for fear is connection.
No one gets out of here alive, but we can create some beautiful art, relationships, and meaningful exchanges while we're here. Have courage, and know there are others out there who, like you, are looking for a place to call home.
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Rachel Moore, LMFT, is a licensed psychotherapist in San Diego, California. She specializes in helping creative people overcome trauma and anxiety with EMDR therapy. Rachel also facilitates 12-week therapy groups based on the book "The Artist's Way," by Julia Cameron.
More info: www.rachelmoorecounseling.com
To be creative is to be bold. It takes audacity to put something new out into the world. The act of creation can also bring light to things we or others may have chosen to bury. To be creative takes courage.
Sometimes an artistic life can feel lonely, confusing, or frightening. In general, our culture doesn't offer a lot of understanding to artists. If you want support or help to clarify your life purpose, please schedule a time to talk with me or sign up for updates about the next Artist's Way Workshop therapy group.
You don't have to be alone. Your voice deserves to be heard. All it takes is the first step.
-Rachel Moore, LMFT
Rachel Moore, LMFT, is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapy in San Diego, CA. Rachel helps writers, artists, musicians, and other creative types overcome anxiety, trauma, and depression. She is trained in EMDR therapy.