Do You Fear Being A Creative Person?

I used to have a fear of being a creative person. I grew up making things and drawing, but at around twelve years old I stopped.I began to judge my work, making it hard for me to continue to create. It is only in the last few years that I have returned to drawing and taking pictures. I was tired of having ideas, and not going through with them, so one day I picked up my camera and started to photograph older stylish people. From there, it was easier to start drawing again, and I eventually felt comfortable with sharing my drawings with others.

Debra and I sat down to discuss how fear can stop us from being creative. She has helped me to understand that if we have FUN and enjoy the Process of creating that we can get over this fear. Many of the older ladies I meet tell me that they enjoy fashion, because they make it fun and don’t take it too seriously. This a a good place to start, it involves risk, but once you start you can change and develop what you are working on. We would love to hear your thoughts,fears and questions to continue this conversation about how to stop being fearful and start having fun.

  • I love creativity! The hard part is dividing it into manageable phases of sorts.

    The creative phase and the evaluation phase and so on.

  • My thought: Create a community of like-minded individuals with whom I/you can laugh. I'm naturally timid–so much that I can hide myself away in my apartment for days on end if I'm not diligent. I need people I can laugh with–especially about myself (I'm a clutz). True laughter is the opposite of judging–and since creative types are always judging, always pushing to become better, it helps to have a counterpoint. Laughter is serious, too! In real life, I have this with my writer partner. In my internet life, I seek out people who laugh through images and words–like here, at Advanced Style.

  • Great to see you live.Hurraaaaaaaaa
    I never had fear of being creative, and encouraged my children to be creative too.
    We give each other things we make for presents.
    We never plan to be millionaire,so once you remove the money from the equation of success, everything is much easier.

  • A great topic to discuss….yes…I have a fear of creativity but in a weird way. I have made my living as a graphic designer for 25 years but I want to get back to painting and creating for my own personal enjoyment and hopefully others…but I feel such guilt that I should be doing the corporate design thing all the time that it stifles me. I have so many ideas of things I want to make or paint and you are so right…just pick one and do it. Follow through on one idea. Last year…I desperately wanted to start a design blog and I did…even though I was working 60 plus hours a week…and I need now to just push to the next level of my creativity.

    My family always supported me being creative as long as I had a job that paid me to do it. The fear is trying to live and create and make a living without the corporate job. By the way I got laid off from my corporate job recently so I feel like right now is the time to take the leap.

  • I love these videos–thanks so much for doing them! Creativity is life–it's what I write about (my books–"Living the Creative Life" and "Creative Time and Space"–and the blog) and talk about and urge others to embrace. Thanks for helping spread the good word–

  • ari

    Nita, I feared the same thing, but I pushed myself to work my "money job" and then on my days off I worked on the blog. Also we can find ways to bring creativity into our jobs, life, little things. You are at the perfect time. Do what you love. I get work from just doing this blog, something I never thought would happen.


  • ari


    Maybe don't take it too seriously, like Debra says just have FUN. Push some papers around and glue them together. Enjoy the process! Just sit down and start something. I know its hard but its well worth it .

  • Creativity doesn't have to be shied away from, especially if you can just simply create things for yourself.
    I am in the first month of running a 'street style' blog on my university campus, and I was at first so scared of approaching people and asking to take their photographs. I am in the process of realising that other people are actually interested in and encourage my project, so I don't have any real reason to be afraid any more!
    Ari, I have just discovered your blog today, but I see what you are doing as something really important. Older generations are often negatively stereotyped and you help illuminate the fact that style often ripens with age!

  • Like I said on Twitter, it's not being creative I'm afraid of. However a lot of people get down on me for being creative, saying I "think too much outside the box."

    For instance, this year instead of a "guess the weight of the pumpkin" contest for Halloween at work, I wanted to do a trivia contest. A pumpkin would still be the prize but this way we wouldn't have it out where little kids would attempt to pick it up. My boss and supervisor, despite asking me to come up with a new idea, basically told me, "No, we want to go with the same old thing."

    Same thing with many of my displays. I have a little more freedom there, but even then I sometimes get called out on "thinking outside the box."

    It's hard to be creative when everyone else is so set in their ways.

  • Ohh, this is such a great question. I have a physical condition and find that because of this I do not allow myself to be creative because I feel as though when I do feel good I HAVE to spend that time on doing what MUST be done. I have come to believe that this causes me more physical pain because I am not using my creative outlet to reduce stress. Thank you for bringing this up, I plan on using this subject for a group meeting I am hoping to have soon and would like to link to your discussion. This is REALLY GOOD, THANKS!

  • I fear not being a creative person. There have been some lovely times, such as Childbirth. And some barren times, such as divorce. The only way I can get back to myself is to begin creating again, at least in my mind.

  • Part of the issue, I think, is that we get a very strong dose, when we are young of 'you can't' – "You can't draw horses like that," or "You can't wear plaids and dots together," or "You can't wear white shoes after Labor Day," or "You can't wear that color," or 'That makes you look fat (or short or old or too young or too sexy or …)." I just saw a photo of a dress project done by a not young, not thin person and she's, gasp, wearing it with white shoes!!!! OMG – and I looked at that and thought: Jeeze, that looks fab; I'd never be so brave to wear white shoes in January. But why? I think one of the great things about not being young is that why should we care what young people think? We aren't on their radar? They are only interested in one another – we're invisible to most of them. So, throw stuff on – if it makes you feel cool and good, then wear it and don't give a damn. Same thing with drawing. When I don't give a damn, then my stuff comes out much better than when I try to do school technique. color, life, movement – that is all that counts. Get a box of crayons and a big pad! Get some water colors or tempera paints and a big board and just put stuff on. There's no teacher leaning over your shoulder telling you that it isn't any good – it's all good.

  • This is so interesting.

    Very important to have fun. I certainly think we forget that when we're striving for something. It's good to be reminded!

    Such a delightful blog – enjoyable and inspiring.

    I look forward to more on this subject.

  • I'm sure you can probably figure out by my blog name that I have never shied away from CREATIVITY in my life and embrace nearly ALL it's forms: writing, sewing, fashion and costume design, photography, knitting, painting, collage/mixed media, performance art and dancing – WHEW! I've done it all =-)

    Debra hits it right on the nose by saying it's all about EXPRESSION, which I consider to be a very natural human impulse! We all desire to express ourselves to others whether by writing or by how we wear the clothes we wear, by creating beautiful music or a beautiful painting/artwork. I agree with Debra also, that this culture has such a fear of creativity and it's quite shameful that so many wonderful and talented lights are smothered by this FEAR.

    Ari, this is the second time I have felt compelled to leave a comment because this post is SO VERY IMPORTANT, and I'd also like to say that I am so very proud to have witnessed the evolution of this blog and YOUR OWN CREATIVITY, by the photos you take to the drawings you have begun to exhibit here. I have no doubt that this artistry has begun to flourish under the mentor-ship of the amazing Wise Women and Men you choose to surround yourself with. It has been a privilege to see a young man as yourself speak eloquently to the love you have for The Elders and the respect you have for the experience and wisdom they pass along to you.

    Keep up the amazing evolution of your artistry Ari – I'm rooting for you =-)!

  • I love your videos! Two creative minds working together! I love the topic and hope there are many who will share their personal experiences in overcoming the fear of being creative and showing their creativity to the world.
    I started a blog. That was huge for me. Going public with who I am…… over the course of a year I've met so many wonderful creative people and that has helped me! One thing I've struggled with and that is having fun. I'm 57 and have had to discover what it is to actually have fun! Can you believe that?! It's true!
    Life and creativity should be one……. Life should be fun!
    Cathy G

  • After watching the first video~It had never occurred to me that you, Ari, might have been frightened by what you have done here! This video is so apropos to a discussion I have on Writer's Block in my Creative Writing classes. Often "perfectionism" or an "internalized critic" is what stops us. Or increasingly, it is having too many ideas and not quite knowing where to begin. I liked what D. said about God. I think of G-d as "The Creator," and I entirely agree that my own creations are the BEST expression of my knowledge of this higher power.

    I wonder if you are familiar with the artwork of Elizabeth Layton. This woman took up drawing at age 60+, after many years of Depression. She is worth checking out.

  • I wonder if you would mind if I used the first video in my Writing classes?

  • ari

    Terri, Go right ahead!

  • WOW I am so impressed with all the comments. This is certainly a topic that we can all relate to. We obviously are all CREATIVE and have chosen certain expressive forms.
    So many of you are brave just doing your work and loving it, starting blogs and just stepping out.
    I think when the FEAR sets in that is the TIME WE MUST CREATE…even if it is a cake or a mud pie…or putting on an OUTRAGEOUS outfit. Try it and see how different you feel.
    I love the comment about Elizabeth Layton who started to draw at 60+ after many years of depression.
    YES… get a box of CRAYONS and big pad of PAPER and just go at it!
    NOW is the time….

  • cgh

    Great talk! You're spot on about creativity. There's the total fear that if you don't make something perfect on the first try, it's not worth it.
    Making creative work and being creative is rewarding in itself, and it's a shame that worries about making a living through creative work stymies people's natural creative abilities. It definitely did for me!

    On a related note, I'd recommend Lynda Barry's book "What It Is." It's an amazing work on creativity and the creative process.

    Ari, I can lend it to you!

  • i would love to see a seminar on this. i design clothing and fear is my biggest roadblock. in fact, i am fighting with it now. but every day is a new day, and i say to myself, why don't you play! I'm trying to be less serious about it. and, i'm learning why i have fear in the first place. it helps to hear people like you and debra(love you debra)talk about it. thanks so much for this video!
    xxdeb j

  • Carol

    The only time I was "ashamed" not afraid of creativity was a moment in high school when I would sit in study hall drawing my little cartoon ladies all hunched over so no one could see what I was doing. It might have been that academic subjects were valued over art in my high school. The rest of my life I have been creative and loved it. Even in my corporate job. Count me in on any creativity discussions.

    I wish I had those high school drawings now. I've been drawing like that ever since. And I keep every scrap.

  • This is such a great topic for discussion, and I have enjoyed reading the comments. I was an extremely creative child, always drawing, taking photographs, making up stories, etc. Then when I became a teenager I starting judging the things I created, found them lacking, and stopped making them. I've re-discovered the creative part of myself over the years, but I still have to combat the fear that what I put out there for people to see isn't good enough (for whom, I don't know). It's an ongoing process, and the goal for me is to live as creative a life as possible. Deborah is my inspiration for this!

  • b

    Thank you for the discussion point Ari. I was a teacher of creative kindergartners in my former life. I always wished they could keep that spark of creativity that they demonstrated.

    Adults will throw up road blocks that really can be overcome. What we see in our minds eye is not always the outcome. That is where we really do need to let go. Creativity involving a finished product requires practice…believe it or not. Whether we are writing, painting or sculpting, practice makes us better and better. I don't know what the percentage of genius artist is but I suspect it is very small. The rest of us just keep going given the talent we are given. Even when it come to fashion practice will make us more stylish and more creative in our clothing choices.

    Be well.


  • Thanks for these blog (I have made some post of it inside my blog) and these words. Now, this exactly moment…I have fear to create and I was just seeing myself inside your words..THANKS for sharing it! THANKS!

  • Ari, I came across your blog as I was doing research for my own on the subject of fear and creativity. Wow, I'm blown away by your blog and I love your Advanced Styling, older ladies who have experience in putting together clothes. I am 51 and I feel like I have developed my style to as I have gotten older.

    I am new to blogging, learning all the time! I would like to use your youtube video where you are interview with Diane about fear and creativity in my next blog. I know you will be busy!! but if you could spare some time to check out my blog too I would be so grateful – tips are welcome!
    I am an artist selling my work on etsy and folksy. It's a tough world to break into. Please check out for my blog and thanks for reading this. Thank you… Judith Dawson