For someone who would describe themselves as a 'creative', sometimes I find it really difficult to just...create. The perfectionist in me, perhaps, stunts my ability to put pen to paper and my anxiety tells me that I can't put anything on the page unless it's good to go there and then. This creative anxiety is most prevalent during the writing process, for me, and I know that it is something that also plagues many other writers. For some writers, the anxious adrenaline helps to drive their projects but, for others, such as myself, it can stunt them.
I'm here today with a few ways, tried and tested by me, in which you can get rid of creative anxiety during the writing process. These methods are quite specific and not going to be relevant to everyone, granted, but I can only speak from my own experience. Share your tips in the comments below, particularly if you're a creative of a different discipline!
As a child, I found it really difficult to have mess around my 'good' work. If I made a mistake in pen, I would start the page in my textbook again. Now that I'm older, I find it useful to have a designated 'messy' notebook in which I allow myself to make mess and write as many horrible bits of horrible poetry as possible. No one needs to see its contents and it gives me the chance to play around.
DIFFERENT ROLE, DIFFERENT DAY
I have a real habit of editing before I've even really put pen to paper. Whilst being a sufficient editor is a pretty good skill to have, I find that it really affects my writing process. I have taken to giving myself different days to wear different hats. For example, some days I will pop my writer hat on and do just that. Other days I'll switch it up and put my editor hat on or my researcher hat on. By allocating myself different roles on different days, I minimise the temptation to edit before I have written.
KEEP IT SECRET, KEEP IT SAFE
If you find that you feel quite pressured by other people's response during the creative process, keep your work to yourself to begin with. Don't tell anyone about it. Don't think of this or that person reading it or viewing it for the first time. Let the piece be yours for the time in which it needs you. By doing this, you should allow yourself to create something that is free of anxieties about what other people think. Not everyone will worry about this but for some it is a big hurdle.
EMBRACE THE 'SHITTY FIRST DRAFT'
Your 'shitty first draft' may not be your magnum opus but by giving yourself the chance to create a vision of something you're allowing yourself the chance to properly reflect on how to take your piece further. The 'shitty first draft' may be abysmal, unshareable perhaps, but it will more than likely birth ideas and images that you can work with and transform.
HAVE FUN WITH THE PROCESS!
The most important thing to remember is that creativity, much like everything else in life, usually involves a process that you follow from A to B, from designing or creating a concept, to signing off on a project or sending your goods onto others. The writing process, in this instance, may be grueling at times, confusing at others, but it is totally necessary. Allow yourself to accept and enjoy the process from start to finish and you'll be all the better for it. You have to write a bunch of words that won't see the light of day outside of your messy notebook in order to get to the 'shitty first draft' and beyond.
I would be really interested in your thoughts on the matter. Do you have to allow yourself to experience the creative process? Does perfectionism prevent or fuel your creative projects? How do you, personally, get rid of creative anxiety? May you all now go on to write your magnum opus and get rid of your creative anxiety!
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