On creativity and fear

Creation is an act of defiance against fear. Whether writer, musician, artist, or other variation on the theme of Creative Person, all of us at one point or another struggle between our insatiable need to create and a nagging demon whispering to us, “You can’t do it. You will never be great.”

So when we sit down and put words on the page or send musical notes to the ears of our listeners, we are rebelling against that fear. Where others are intimidated by failure, by the sometimes insurmountable challenge of turning their creative vision into reality, we fight on.


Because at other times, that fear can grind us to a halt. We realize that what we’re trying to do borders on insane. Wouldn’t it be easier to go do something normal instead of chasing daydreams?

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, gave a great TED speech on this subject. If you are a creative person, you need to take 20 minutes out of your day and watch this:

Great stuff.

Thanks to Janet Reid for bringing this to my attention.


  1. Steve Peacock

    So accurately and eloquently put, Mr. San Juan. Simultaneously I imagine — and yet cannot imagine — pursuing what is "normal." I write, and imagine, and write some more. The creative process is beginning to pay off (literally pay-wise), but it is, and probably will continue to be, a long, hard road. Yet, here it sit, gladly.

  2. admin

    Thank you, sir. The idea that every time you create something for public consumption it's a huge leap of faith is a notion many people don't really consider — yet creative types know it's true.

    But as you say, I can't imagine it any other way. It's just what you *do*. It's rarely easy, it's often not even close to fun, but it IS a compulsion.

    And it's a compulsion I'm glad to have. I wouldn't have it any other way.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *