4 Thoughts Holding You Back From Creating
And why you should ignore them
One of the biggest struggles for creatives is forging a path to our goals. Unlike more traditional and sturdy careers such as teaching, being a doctor, or even opening a business, creative trades often have hard-to-define paths that can depend on each person or situation.
This lack of a clear-cut road to our creative goals breeds self-doubt in the form of our thoughts. If listened to, these thoughts can prevent us from moving forward.
But we don’t have to be held down by a negative mindset. We can rise above it, but first, we must identify what exactly is holding us down. So here are some of the most harmful beliefs self-doubt can cause, and the reasons you shouldn’t listen.
Nobody’s going to like this.
Creating is a vulnerable process, and the result often feels like a piece of us. Putting it out into the world for everyone to judge is scary, so it’s natural we dwell on what people will think. This is especially true if there is the potential to make money off of our work.
Even now, as I write this, I am wondering if it will be well-received or not. I am thinking about how many views it will get. I have thought this, for a moment at least, about every article I’ve written, even the ones I loved.
But the moment I start to get caught up in views and claps and how much I could potentially make is the moment I start to lose motivation.
So it’s time to let this thought go. Yes, we should aim to make work that others will connect to. But remind yourself not to focus too much on what others think. Make whatever you want because you like it. You will eventually find an audience that connects to your authenticity.
I don’t even know what I’m doing.
This belief held me back for way too long. I didn’t think I knew enough about writing (even though I had worked as a journalist for four years) and I was worried that everyone could see the truth: I had no idea what I was doing.
The feeling that you aren’t good enough or knowledgeable enough is called “imposter syndrome.” Nearly everyone struggles with it at some point. Imposter syndrome can persist even when you start gaining success.
The key to beating it sounds simple but takes work. The first step is awareness: recognizing when you’re being held back by beliefs of inadequacy. From there, you must work to rewire your thoughts by reminding yourself that you are not a fraud. Everyone starts off knowing nothing. The great part of having a passion is that you can always learn more.
It also helps to talk about this feeling with others, as you’ll be surprised how many have felt the same. And when you make a mistake, be kind to yourself, and take it as a lesson. Search for ways you can learn and improve.
The desire to be the best, or to become an expert ASAP, can be extremely overwhelming. Don’t feel rushed to know everything. Trust in yourself and use the knowledge you have. Learning is a journey. Enjoy it.
All my ideas have been done before.
This might be true, but wanna know a secret?
It doesn’t matter.
Very few ideas, if any, are completely new. But that’s not a bad thing! Because if you write an idea and someone else reads it and has felt the exact same way before, you have connected with that person.
I first realized I wanted to be a writer when I noticed a specific feeling I got when reading a book, and suddenly understanding the exact sentiment the writer was describing. You know that moment, when you think, Yes! I‘ve felt that too!
That is a true moment of connection between an artist and their audience, and it is a beautiful thing. If we didn’t all think similar ideas every now and then, that connection wouldn’t exist.
You should also remember that nobody has lived your life. No one else has your specific opinion or your ideas or your memories the way you experienced them. No one can tell your stories the way you can, and if you deny the world your voice, you could be denying people a pure moment of connection with you.
What will this bring me, anyway?
The answer is: who cares?
I understand that many aim to make a living with their work. And I really understand how pointless it can feel at times, working so hard on something and feeling such pride upon completing it, only to think: so….what now?
It can be frustrating not having others see or appreciate something you made. Many of us have goals like getting published, having a large audience, or selling our work. But if those goals start to become the whole reason we’re creating, we will lose our passion and our work will suffer.
So during the process, remember why you started in the first place: because you enjoy creating. Because it makes you feel like you. The rest will come.
The first step in changing your mindset is recognizing the thoughts that need to go. The above beliefs do not serve you in any way, except to keep you in your comfort zone. For me, this comfort zone kept me from writing. I was unhappy, sure — but at least I was safe.
Eventually, I threw safety to the wind. True creativity requires risks, and taking risks requires trust and confidence. So release your harmful beliefs and instead adopt the belief that you can, and will, reach your creative goals.