Half a Fear Year to build a creative life

This Fear Year started as an idea. Now I'm halfway through it. It's time to take a look on what this year has brought so far, and what I want the next six months to be.

Let's look back for a moment.

In January, I started before I was ready.
In February, I kept going when it was hard.
In March, I followed joy and my silly self.
In April, I battled stress and overwhelm.
In May, I created balance in my life again.
In June, I went in my own direction.

I've faced fears. Some I've moved past, others I will face again, many times. Most importantly, I've showed myself that I can handle them. Here's what I've faced:

  • Calling myself creative.
  • Starting a blog.
  • Sharing my creativity with the world.
  • Writing in English.
  • Sharing quickly, before it's perfect.
  • Changing directions.
  • Building a space to help others.
  • Admitting my strengths.
  • Sharing my silly heart with the world.
  • Exploring visual creativity.
  • Launching my new website.
  • Sharing what I've made actively.
  • Letting my creative dreams take time.
  • Starting to work on my novel again.
  • Drawing my inner voices.
  • Finding a way to teach.
  • Taking a step out of the inspiration bubble. 
  • Going in my own direction.
  • Breaking the rules.

Some lessons have been more important than others. Without these ones, I wouldn't have been where I am today:

I've learned to create quickly and on demand.
I've learned to share without perfection.
I've learned to explore my creativity.
I've learned to create my own path.

Creating used to be something I dreamed of, planned to do, and only did on rare occasions.

It was on my mind but not in my life. Now, that's changed. Creating is a natural part of my life. It's part of my routine, my normality.

The last six months, they add up to a base for living a creative life. I can honestly say that I feel like I'm living creatively, just like I dreamed of.

I've built a home, a base for my creativity.
I've built a routine to sustain my creative life.
I've faced the fears that kept me from doing this.

Now, it's time to take it up a notch.

With this base of a creative life that I have, what do I want to build on that? What's the next step? What pieces are missing in the puzzle of daring to take my creative life to the next level? 

Looking back on what I've learned, I've found ways for the smaller pieces of creativity to work. But I still struggle with my bigger projects, they are still surrounded by perfectionism.

I need to take what I've learned in my smaller projects to the bigger ones.

Especially the ability to create on a schedule, consistently and imperfectly.

I learned that from needing to share every week, but with the bigger projects, I can't share every week. I need to find a way to be consistent and imperfect in my bigger projects, without relying on sharing.

I want to dare my bigger projects, the ones that really matter, the ones where I cripple myself with perfectionism. I want to be brave in those projects too.

Then there's another part of living a creative life that I've been avoiding: Selling.

If I don't want to give away everything I make, I need to get comfortable with selling. It's a beast many creatives fear, and I do too. What to charge, how to value your creativity in money. Coming off as greedy.

Along with it comes another monster - the monster of self promotion. It bundles up the fear that we're not good enough, that we're impostors and that we're egoistic, to a terrifying cocktail.  

Self promotion forces us to let go of our self-doubt and show pride for what we've made. I'm sorry but that's scary as hell. Scary. As. Hell.

But that's my next brave step, so that's what I need to do. (Sure is fun this fear facing huh! Bah.)

I have hope and dread for the second half of this year.

It feels like this is the ultimate test of my bravery. 

In the second part of my Fear Year, I will focus my brave energy on big projects and on selling. Not because I dream of making a lot of money, that's never been the point, but because it scares the crap out of me.

There's a reason I haven't faced those two fears yet. They're the ones I've avoided when I've handled other fears. I'm nervous that I've gotten to some kind of fear threshold that I won't get over. At the same time, I'm hopeful. I've come so far already, and if I can do this, I don't see what would stop me in the future. The biggest fears I have today will be faced.

Moving forward into the second half of my Fear Year, I'm holding my why close to my heart.

I don’t want to be the person who lets fear stand in the way of my dreams.

I won't. 

I will fight for my dreams.