Creativity’s Tangly Twin

Your best work is behind you. It’s all downhill from here.

It’s one of my worst fears. It’s certainly the most poisonous — starting out small in the back of my brain on the days I’m feeling flat, and steadily ballooning until it’s taken over my brain entirely.

You’re done. You fluked it. Things have changed. Maybe it was possible before, but not now. Not for you.
I know it’s irrational but the more I try to ignore it, the more insistent it becomes.

Which leaves me with no option but to wade into the fray and start really tangling with it. Eventually, after spending a lot of energy on said tangle, I get sick of it and decide I’m just going to bloody well get on with it whether the fear is present or not.

Fear is an inextricable part of creativity, the sharp edge of your gift. It’s along for the ride whether you like it or not.

Your job — no matter what your particular brand of creativity might be — is to come to terms with that and find a way to make it work. To keep going, even when you’re scared, pissed off or at a complete and utter loss about what comes next.

Just keep turning up. Keep doing the work, even when it doesn’t feel particularly inspired.

Set yourself a small, achievable minimum to do every day, and let that be enough, until the fear and frustration has receded enough that you can do more.

Your best work is never behind you, because it’s a moving target. The more you learn and grow, the better your work will become. That’s how creativity works — it builds on itself.

Even though some days it will feel like you don’t have any good ideas anymore, or like everything you try falls flat — it’s all laying the foundation for something better, if you can just be patient enough to stick with it.

So tangle with your fear as you need to. But don’t stay there.

Accept it for what it is — living proof that your creativity is still alive and kicking — and then strap it into the back seat where it belongs and get a move on.