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Creative Courage: 5 Tips to Get Past Creative Uncertainty

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A cross-stitch yin yang by Emma Congden

I’m a crafter. Many geeks are — it’s one of the ways we celebrate our fandoms. And whether we’re cosplaying our favorite Critical Role character or cross-stitching a scene from Fallout, we all share one experience:

Being afraid of trying something new.

We’ve all been there. But there are ways to get past it. Here are five tips that I’ve found helpful to get me past the fear and crafting.

Overcome Your Fear

While we can’t let fear hold us back, moving past it is never easy. Here are a few of my tips to help you move forward:

1. Understand what you’re afraid of.

What are you afraid of? Messing up? Wasting supplies? Failing?

Take a moment to sit in your fear. Breathe it in and out. Now, analyze it. 

I find that reciting the Litany of Fear from Dune helps, but you do you.

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

Dune, Frank Herbert

2. Acknowledge the fear is there, then move on.

What are you afraid of? Is it hurting you? Is it illegal? If the answer to those last two is “no,” then do it. 

Fear doesn’t get to rule you. By acknowledging you’re afraid, you take a moment to feel it, then make the decision to move past it. Consciously choose to be stronger.

3. Ask yourself what you’ve got to lose.

Ask yourself: “What’s the worst that can happen?” and “What do I have to lose?” 

Materials? Time? Sure. But what you’re really risking is your ego.

Now ask yourself what you have to gain.

A new skill. Experience. Confidence. Joy. Fulfillment.Which is more valuable to you? In crafting, what you have to gain is ALWAYS more valuable.

And crafting, compared to other risky endeavors, is pretty low stakes. So why shouldn’t you try that new stitch or technique?

Sure, it may not look as incredible as you might have hoped, but you’ll do better next time. And the next time after that. In crafting, you can always try again.

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case you have failed by default.”

J. K. Rowling

4. Don’t fall for someone’s green, green grass.

You’ve heard the phrase “the grass is always greener.” Well, it’s true. Especially on social media. But never forget that you’re comparing someone else’s outside with your inside.

You’re comparing their seemingly perfect Facebook or Instagram post-worthy life to your inner monologue. And if you’re like me, that inner monologue is more negative about yourself than you’d ever be about anyone else. Ever.

Stop bullying yourself. The person you should be trying to please first in your creative endeavors is you.

5. Allow yourself to be imperfect.

You’ve heard that you learn more from failing than you do from succeeding.

So be courageous enough to try and fail. Courageous enough to be imperfect. Courageous enough to create more joy in whichever craft you love.

Sometimes you’re going to fail. Sometimes your creativity or your implementation won’t live up to the vision in your mind. Sometimes, you’re going to be imperfect.

That’s the human condition. But more importantly, it’s the best way to learn.  

All of us experience fear. Don’t let it stop you. Inspire someone else and share how you move past your fear in the comments section below.

Rae Redford

Rae is a writer, Dungeon Master, cross-stitch and crochet pattern designer, and a fiber artist. She has been an international dog show planner, a video game developer, a band & choir geek, a musical lover, and a role player. She’s worked for both Disney and LEGO, has raised two amazing and geeky children, and just got engaged to the red yeti of her dreams. She loves learning new things and surrounding herself with artifacts from all of the fandoms she’s passionate about.

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Rae Redford

Rae is a writer, Dungeon Master, cross-stitch and crochet pattern designer, and a fiber artist. She has been an international dog show planner, a video game developer, a band & choir geek, a musical lover, and a role player. She’s worked for both Disney and LEGO, has raised two amazing and geeky children, and just got engaged to the red yeti of her dreams. She loves learning new things and surrounding herself with artifacts from all of the fandoms she’s passionate about.

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