I listened to a great interview with Elizabeth Gilbert this morning on my way to work. It was part of a podcast on the source of creativity made by the TED radio hour. This is a show which strings together excerpts from various TED talks on a central theme and it’s always thought provoking.
Elizabeth Gilbert is famous for writing Eat, Pray, Love – possibly one of the most successful books of its kind and a huge bestseller for Gilbert. In the interview, she talks about facing her fears. She says that she is constantly asked if she worries that she won’t be able to write anything as good and admits that she does worry about this, but she has learnt to face down her fear.
She tells a lovely story of addressing her fears directly (yes, out loud, as if they are crouching in the corner of her writing room). She tells them that she knows that they’re there, but that they aren’t in charge. They can come along for the ride, but they aren’t in the driver’s seat.
I like this metaphor very much. You can’t really pretend that you aren’t afraid, but you can tell your fears to take a back seat in your creative journey.