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Are You Scared? Fear and the Creative Process.

Do you sometimes feel scared to write? To create something – anything?! Are you sometimes a bit terrified to engage with others on social media, or even at an in-person event? Do you find yourself wanting to hide away, not sharing, not connecting, and certain not promoting anything? You are not alone.

Let’s talk about fear. Terror. Panic… and the creative process. That feeling when you – the writer – stare at the blank page with a big hole in the gut of your stomach.

We don’t talk about this very often, fear. Even the depression that comes and sinks in and grabs hold for days, weeks or months.

I want to share an interesting video that was posted to YouTube by a vlogger named Charlie. He has more than 1.5 MILLION subscribers to his YouTube channel, and this is what he posted:

Now, what is especially interesting about the video is the response to it. How it started a conversation about how this type of fear is not unusual at all, it is hidden just below the surface for many people. His video has not only received 700,000 views so far, but 38,000 comments and nearly 400 video responses. And so many of them say this: “I’m scared too.”

Just look at these faces, all talking openly to the world about fear and the creative process:

One response offers a deep look into what a creator can go through:

His advice: “get small.” Focus on creating something for just one person, not for 100 or 100,000 or 1.5 million.

This reminds me of a website I became aware of recently: HumansOfNewYork.com
What it shares is simple: a photo of people on the streets of New York, and a short quote from that person.

Something about these photos is so simple – focusing on just one person – and yet so huge. And what is more amazing is how a community has formed around this set. They recently launched a relief effort for victims of Hurricane Sandy, and have raised more than $180,000 so far.

Here is a great video about Humans of New York:

The photographer behind the site explains some of his motivation as this: “I’m always very sensitive to whether or not I am getting jaded.” His solution: when he notices something incredible on the street and takes a photo of it, he knows he still has the capacity for being open.

Where do you find fear in the creative process? And more importantly: where do you find hope?

  • I’m basically a scaredy-cat at all levels, but especially social. I create because I’m a happier person when I do so, and I work every day to not let fear stop me. It takes daily, conscious effort. I’ve seen young people, some with great talent, who are paralyzed by their fears. They think that the rest of us don’t have them. A post like this can be a great help to them, to realize that they, and we, are not alone.

    • Nadine,
      Thank you so much for sharing this, you are SO right!

  • This video touched me. And I find it very relevant to my own creative process. Because of Charlie, I am going back to the rough draft again and will try to love it into being better.


    I think there is a little fear whenever we put ourselves out there to be judged. As I get closer to publishing my book- fiction based on myself and people I have come to know- I worry that my family will only try to see themselves in what I write, that they will not understand what drives me to write this story. Are there similarities- yes, are they exact-no. The names are different, its the personalities that fascinated me when they are combined. I may lose some people but I have to do it and do it soon. Thanks for a great blog, it has given me a boost today. I do need to be myself in what I write.