The Fear of Putting Pen to Paper (Or Equally, Fingers to Keyboard)

Words are something I’ve always enjoyed. The simple act of making a word out of letters, a sentence out of words, a paragraph out of sentences and a story out of paragraphs is something that has always given me deep satisfaction.

As children, I think it’s easier to just be. You’re less worried about who will see what you have made. You keep your secret diary close to your chest – on full enough display so that everyone knows you have a secret diary, but not enough so that anyone will ever find out what it says (unless you want them to, of course).

As adults, we have entered into the side-hustle culture, the social-media era. A time where anything and everything you do must be to fulfil some abstract goal of success. If you take photos in your spare time and don’t post them on Instagram, then why even bother taking them in the first place.

I understand that not everyone feels this way, but when we’re bombarded by images every day of other people doing more, being more, and achieving more than we are, it gets hard.

What if my hobby never goes anywhere or gets me anything more than the sheer satisfaction of my doing it? Is it worth the resulting disapointment?

And even worse – what if everyone knows about said hobby and it still never goes anywhere? What if I fail and everyone knows it?

Such thoughts spiral into an anxiety-fuelled whirlwind until all thoughts of being creative fly out of the window and I am tired, breathless and in desperate need of a nap.

To share something you’ve created is to be vulnerable, and to be vulnerable is to open yourself up to judgement and criticism.

Brains work in funny ways and I’ve often noticed how I’m able to create right up until the point someone finds out what it is I’m doing, at which point I become stuck; frozen in my own mind and unable to rekindle the motivation to start again.

It’s a vicious cycle that perpetuates feelings of sadness, longing and disappointment, and I’m not exactly sure how I go about conquering it. At the moment my tactic is to simply ignore any and all urges of creativity until they become so strong that I simply have to do something or I might be swallowed by the feeling.

Maybe one day I’ll learn how to break this highly inconvenient habit, if I do I’ll be sure to share just how I did it – maybe.


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