Positive Writer

Writing through doubt and fear, and you can, too!

How to Embrace Your Fears to Create Your Best Work

Are you ready to answer the question? It’s a simple one. It’s the question that will reveal once and for all whether you’re an artist or not.

Are you afraid?


Do it anyway.

Have you ever wished you could push the fear away? Or just get over it?

Don’t wish such a thing, because not you, nor anyone else, will ever be entirely fearless.

And honestly, you shouldn’t want to be.

Fear is not your enemy.

The biggest problem with fear today is not fear itself.

No, it is the belief that we should never be afraid and we should be courageous and confident beyond measure.

Courage and Confidence Are Not the Result of an Absence of Fear.

(Click to Tweet if you agree.)

On the contrary, courage, confidence and even so called fearlessness are the results of facing, embracing and finally, dancing with your fears.

Dancing with your fears requires looking ’em in the eyes, raising your pen above the page and writing anyway.

It’s okay to be afraid.

If you’re not at least a little afraid then that indicates you don’t care enough about failing, about connecting, and about creating work that matters.

Too often we look at prolific artists and wish we could be more like them because they seem to have nothing to fear.

But that’s not true.

The most successful people, in this case those who consistently finish and ship, are the ones with the most to fear.

They put themselves out there so many times that failure is not just a possibility, it is imminent.

Not everything everyone creates succeeds in the marketplace. Not every song Michael Jackson or even Elvis Presley released into the world was a #1 hit!

But that never stopped them from creating more.

So, yes, the odds of failure get higher with every piece of work that you ship.

Scary, isn’t it?

Good. It should be.

Embrace fear because it means you’re taking chances and creating when others are stalling and giving up.

Fear weeds out those who don’t care enough.

(Click to Tweet)

So how much do you care?

You. Want. To. Care. A. Lot.

You want to care so much that the mere thought of not creating scares you more than anything else.

With that kind of fear, you’ll create no matter what the results might be and you’ll pay more attention to what truly matters to you.

When embraced, fear can help us focus, stay the course and create with passion.

It’s when you don’t feel any fear that you should truly be worried, because that means your heart just isn’t into it.

We love art not just because it’s beautiful and rare, but also because we know the artist had to dance a glorious dance with fear to create such a masterpiece.

Our fears give us our edge.

Fear is an essential piece of the indescribable X-factor all memorable artists have in their work.

Without fear we would not need to go places that we’d rather not. Without fear we would not try harder, worker longer or attempt more than we’ve ever attempted before.

How we respond and live with our fear helps develop our personal signature. You’re art, how it will be viewed and remembered, depends greatly on how you faced your fears.

If you let fear control you and cause you to be insecure, overly frustrated and doubt yourself, then your work will likely come across as weak, directionless and incomplete.

If that’s happened to you, that’s okay. I know how you feel. I’ve been there, too.

And the good news is that every day you have the opportunity to begin anew, to dance a new dance.

When you finally embrace fear and dance the glorious dance, your work will be considered bold and charming, beautiful and dignified or even, unique, exquisite and delicious…

We need fear.

Stop trying to avoid it, push it away and feel comfortable. That won’t work. Sometimes you need to be uncomfortable, dissatisfied and determined to breakthrough the status quo and rock it!

You’re going to have to face your fears.

And be thankful for them.

We admire artists not just for the work they created, but because they remind us that great work comes from mastering not only the brush, the pen or the lens, but rather, the fear within.

Master your fear by embracing, dancing and creating with it.

You will never create work worthy of attention if you do not master fear.

(Click to Tweet)

Let’s be clear here, just in case, I’m not talking about fear of a vicious wild animal, because by all means run like hell if you’re in danger.

No, you know the fear I’ve been talking about. The real fear that keeps you up at night. The fear you truly dread. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.

The only way to remove that fear is to stop creating with passion, to stop doing things that are risky and to stop doing anything that might not work.

If you really want to remove that fear, know that if/when you do (as if you could) you’ll also be giving up the same power that drives you to create.

Creative inclination and fear go hand in hand, you can’t have one without the other.

Just remember, when fear causes you sleepless nights and you’re tossing and turning, and you’re wishing it would just go away, it’s not your enemy.

Fear is the fuel to your creative fire.

So what should we do?

Instead of tossing and turning and begging for sleep, get up, take action and create something awesome!

If you do that which you fear, you won’t merely overcome it -no, you’ll do something much better than that- you’ll realize you’re an artist.

And that’s what artists do.

Are you ready to dance? Share with us in the comments.

About Bryan Hutchinson

I'm a positive writer and when that doesn't work, I eat chocolate. I help fellow writers overcome doubt and thrive! In my free time, I love visiting castles with my wife, Joan. Join me on Twitter and Facebook.

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  • Great post Bryan. I think everyone needs to realize the fear is not going to just slither away. It will keep at you till you give up. And once you ship, it’s still there telling you what a mistake you made by doing it. Fear is relentless. But that’s okay, it’s further confirmation that what you have to say matters. That it might just change someone, or help someone.

  • Speaking from experience, fear can manifest as procrastination. I’ve been doing a lot of busy “platform building” work lately.

    • It took me several days to get around to replying to your comment. I don’t know what you’re talking about. 🙂

  • Fear manifests itself in negative thoughts about the quality of your writing. Negative thoughts create fear. There is no end unless we have the strength to force a break through. Grit your teeth and finish that story or novel and send it out and then move on to the next story or novel. You may never be famous, but you have accomplished something many others have not and should be proud.

    • Right. So many people want to write a book and never do. Be one of the doers!

  • Sarah Lentz

    To your first question, yes. Pretty much every time i publish a new post to my blog, I find myself feeling sick at the thought that maybe too much of me is showing. And that if people really see me for what I am, they’ll run in the opposite direction. Or they’ll want to, anyway. They’ll close the window to my blog and never return, thinking, “Oh, good grief! A neurotic drama queen with a blog. Moving on…”
    Yet, I know I’m not the only one who struggles with the same fears, so I write in part for myself and in part for those others who fear and who keep going anyway. I want to know I’m not alone, and I want to let others know they aren’t, either.
    At the root of it all, I think, is a little girl still afraid she isn’t worth the trouble, but as long as I believe I’m not the only one feeling that, I have to keep writing. Even if it never seems to matter while I’m alive. I trust that, if I put it in God’s hands, He’ll make it count for something, even if I never live to see that something.
    My latest post, “I murdered the simplicity of gift-giving (or some of it, anyway)” is at writeitanyway.com. It’s really not guest-blogging material. I’m still trying to find my way with my blog. If you get a chance to read it, I’d really appreciate your feedback.

    • As you state on your site, Sarah: YOUR story matters. I love your blog’s design btw.

      • Sarah Lentz

        Thanks, Bryan! 🙂 Yours is one of the most encouraging and inspiring blogs I’ve ever visited. It’s one of the main reasons I changed the subtitle of my blog from ” All crickets are welcome here. People, too” to “Your story matters.” God bless you and your wife, Joan.

  • Hi Bryan,

    Inspirational post, indeed!

    As you say, we need fear to drive us forward. It is better to experience fear and do what need to, rather than experience fear and avoid. The former is a win-win because we will have faced our fear and grown as people. Thank you.

  • Joy DeKok

    Fear does fuel my creative fire. It’s risky and right and rewarding. Great post!

  • Feel the fear and do it anyway. I’ve read that somewhere before (smile). Great reminder!

  • Yes very good Bryan.By the way did you read my article on Edinburgh?

    • Phil, can you send it to me again or resend the link? Just last week someone was talking about Edinburgh again.

  • Hi Bryan the link to my site for my tale of Edinburgh is http://philbryson.com I will be very interested in your comments.

    • Phil, I’ve visited your site. It looks professional! But I was not able to find your article about Edinburgh. Can you send me a direct link to the article? Thanks!

      • I’m seeing someone this afternoon about my blog, so I will get him to sort it out as I’m not that technically minded.

  • Pj Swanwick

    Thanks for such an insightful, encouraging article! It’s just what I needed today to get my head on straight (hopefully). I’ve written three novels, but I stall out every time I contemplate publishing. This article makes it clear that I have no excuses – the only thing stopping me from being successful is ME. Time for a change.

  • Bryan, this is great. I believe looking fear in the eye is so important. When we look at the places were we are resistant, the places that are shadowy, we have the opportunity to engage them with light and to uncover the gold that is necessary for our growth and creative voice.

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  • Mariana

    Hi Bryan 🙂 I know this article is aimed to writers, but reading it inspired me so much as a psychologist! There are nights where I toss and turn in fear of not being good enough for my patients, and this article made me see this times in a whole diferent way. Thank you so much!!