To your left is The Fear. This is what The Fear tells you every day:
“You’re not good enough.”
“They’ll laugh at you.”
“You’ve already done your best work.”
“You haven’t got the right tools.”
“It’s not perfect, go back and change it.”
To your right is The Muse.
She gives you ideas. But she is flighty, unpredictable and often arrives at inopportune moments. She also startles easily and deserts you at the drop of a hat. But give her enough space and she will repay you with more ideas than you’ll ever need.
Thanks to Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk on the idea of an external genius and my current favourite book Steven Pressfield’s “The War Of Art” who names his fear “Resistance”, recently I’ve experimented with externalizing my daily creative struggle.
It’s been so helpful that I had to share it with you. It’ll take a lot of pressure off your shoulders. Here’s why.
By personifying your inspiration and fear and making yourself the battleground, you’re removing the link between your work and your self-worth.
Beating yourself up for not doing enough good work is the best way of playing into The Fear’s hands and the quickest way to make The Muse run for the hills.
It’s also FUN! Let’s face it, the daily grind of creating anything can be a mundane business, and viewing your work as a struggle between the forces of darkness and light makes it a deliciously exciting prospect.
It’s certainly got me coming back for more.