In 2016, I faced my creative fears.
It all started with a podcast.
It was the summer of 2015, I was sitting in the office. Not much was happening, most of the staff was on vacation. I was bored, longing for my own vacation coming up. While doing the few things I had on my table, I listened to a podcast.
Someone was interviewing Rachel Brathen, Yogagirl, a Swedish woman who moved to Aruba and became a huge Instagrammer and world wide yoga teacher. Her story was inspiring, but there was something she said that hit right in my heart.
I realized I wanted to create.
Right at that moment, I knew that was it. That was what I'd been longing for.
Starting working life, getting out of the university bubble, I had a question nagging in the back of my head. Is this it? Everything we do until we get our first job is supposed to lead up to working life, so finally arriving to adulthood was a bit anticlimactic. Something was missing, but it took me a while to figure out it was creativity.
During the summer and fall of 2015, I started exploring the online world of creativity. I've always loved the internet and a new world started to open for me. I've never been much of a blog reader but the blogs I found was just amazing filled with hope and creativity. I wanted to join this world, to become part of it. To put my creativity out into the world.
But there was something holding me back.
It was the same thing that kept me procrastinating my novel, the same voice that had kept me from studying creative writing instead of political science. The voice of fear.
It was when I read the book Linchpin by Seth Godin, a book that among other things talks about our deeply evolutionary fear of standing out and sharing our creative work, that an idea started to form in my mind. It was the idea of a Fear Year - a year when I actively seek my creative fears instead of avoiding them. That's what I needed. What I longed for.
I didn't know where my Fear Year would take me.
My goal was just this: To keep creating where fear is strong. To keep being brave.
Every month I published a report from the month that passed, with my thoughts, fears and lessons learned.
In the blog posts below, you can read about my journey and where it took me.
The idea of facing my creative fears during 2016 came out of the realization that I would never create unless I dealt with the reason I wasn't creating: fear.
When I set out on my Fear Year, I didn't have a list of fears and I didn't plan my year. I trusted that fear would show me the way forward, and it did.
This is what happened, and what I learned from it.
December was a month of opening my art shop and selling something I'd made for the first time.
It was also a month of wrapping up the year, looking forward and giving myself some much needed rest.
November was a month of finishing the draft of my novel and really starting to take my art shop from idea to reality, working through all the little details that needed to be in place.
November was a month of launch jitters and struggles with perfectionism, but also a month of big milestones in my creative journey.
October was a month of facing the fears of calling myself an artist and what I make art. I battled resistance and put too high demands on myself. Through deciding who I wanted to be as an artist, I broke through and started to plan my art shop.
It was also a month of making hard decisions to relieve myself of stress. It was hard, but I needed the changes for my own well-being.
September was a month for being intentional in taking a break and being realistic in my schedule, while allowing things to get imperfectly messy.
I successfully got back to writing on my novel after a break and I started to face one of my big fears: selling my creativity.
August was a month of fighting to keep writing. I struggled with creative frustration in my painting and by focusing on the current draft, I could keep painting and writing.
Towards the end of the month, my summer vacation was over and moved into a new apartment with my boyfriend. It forced me to take a break and I worried I wouldn't be able to get back to writing afterwards.
July was a month of trying to get back to writing on my novel. I wrote, struggled, contemplated. Through embracing my creative freedom and forcing myself to experiment, I opened up to a more process focused way of creating, that helped me finally work on my novel.
Once I really sat down to write, the demons of self-doubt came rushing forth, but I didn't give up and managed to create my way through them.
My 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.
I have now built the base of my creative life, and it's time to take it up a notch. It's time for my next level.
June was a month of stepping out of my inspiration bubble and questioning what I'm doing. I got the distance and clarity to understand that I'm in fact living a creative life, and that everything I should do forward should be on my own terms.
I found myself face to face with the choice of breaking the rules and going my own way, or not. Finally, I chose the former.
May was a month of finding balance in my creativity. I needed both to work on my big and small projects, but struggled to find a way to do that, without overworking myself. During May, I tried two different creation plans.
In May, I also started facing my fear of teaching and worked to bring my whole visual identity together again.
April was a month of embracing my patience. I was stressed and wanted everything to happen at once, but working to choose patience helped me eventually win over the fear that my dreams will take a long time to make reality.
In April, I also overcame my writers block that had surrounded my novel, and I realized I'm in this for the long run.
March was a month of daring to show the world my silly heart. It was the month of launching my new website, embracing my weirdness and rediscovering my why when everything seemed impossible.
I remembered that this road is entirely my own and I get choose how it looks. My road is going to be a fun road, and I wont be the person who lets fear keep me from my dreams.
February was a month of searching for a new direction. My blog that started out as a project was growing into something more serious. I wanted to help but I didn't know how. During February I searched for my strengths and how to balance my enthusiastic side with my still one.
My self-doubt was strong, but following it made me find my way forward. I learned not to give up when it feels impossible. Keep at it, don't give up.
January was my beginning. I faced the fear of starting my blog, to start sharing my creativity with the world. It's been a month of searching for my voice, trying to find myself in all of this. Asking what the hell my Fear Year is.
But when January ends, my inner voice has spoken up and I know that it was worth starting somewhere, even if it was scary. I'll figure it out.