Fear and creativity

Yesterday I watched a webinar about being creative led by Carmen Simon from Rexi Media. It was great. One of the points that she made is that everyone feel anxious at the beginning of new projects and some of us feel downright terrified.
I was given a creative project to do at work recently. It was not part of my normal role (which is creating presentations) and was a bit of a challenge for me. I was asked to do a ‘plan on a page’. In other words, the boss wanted a visual representation of our corporate plan. He wanted something visual that would give staff an instant overview of what we are trying to achieve and how they fit into the plan. He said he wanted something different and attention grabbing and a bit different.
This, of course, threw me into an absolute spin. I deeply appreciate other people’s artistic endeavours, but as you know, I’m not really that creative myself.
The first night after I was given this task I barely slept. On top of having to come up with a concept (out of thin air) I was really aware that my I would well and truly be shown up as a fraud and a failure. It gave me some insight into how artist and other designers must feel Surely they can’t all feel slightly ill, like I did? But apparently they do. According to Carmen (designer, psychologist and all round brainy person) everyone feels fearful at the beginning of creative projects. An author might be fearful that their second book is not going to be as good as the first, or that they might reveal too much about themselves. A designer might think that people will that their ideas are plebian or boring, or worse, that they aren’t very original. We all worry that our efforts will make us look foolish or exposed in some way.
What I’ve gathered from this, is that creativity is essentially an act of bravery. It takes a lot to put yourself out there time and time again.

So how did my little project end up? After trying out many variations on a theme, I finally came up with a poster that I really liked.
Unfortunately, the boss hated it so I had to make another two more traditional versions. I haven’t had any feedback from these yet, but in a funny way I don’t regret the work I did on the first effort. After working through the fear and trying our lots of different approaches I was actually pretty pleased with what I came up with and I’m sure I’ll be able to recycle the work at some point.

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