Why You’re Absolutely Terrified Of Actually Having Time To Create

Do you have enough time to create all you want to create? Enough time to devote to all those brilliant ideas for creative projects bubbling away in your head?

No? I didn’t think so!

It’s one of the most common complaints of creative people that I hear, soon followed by “If ONLY I had more time, I could be SO much more creative…”

There are two crucial points that mean we repeatedly end up in this state of feeling frustrated, that we’re under achieving, and all our creativity and creative potential is slowly slipping away unused and unfulfilled.

Firstly, you will NEVER have enough time to create everything you want to create. There, we’ve said it, it’s out in the open.

For every creative project you work on, there will be a dozen or more others in your head begging for your attention, all potentially equally valid and interesting and wonderful.

That’s what happens to us, we’re creative people, new ideas hurtle towards us at a hundred times a second.

If you gave up absolutely everything else in your life, including relationships, eating and sleeping, you would still fall drastically short of having enough time and energy to create all you wanted to create.

Once you realise and accept this, rather than leave you feeling defeated, it actually frees you to get on with the most important creative projects you can create right now. It allows you to prioritise and focus.

Which brings us to our second point.

You’re actually afraid of having time free to create, because it means you’ll have to, well, create stuff!

Exciting stuff, emotive stuff, passion filled, life changing dazzlingly amazing stuff.

That’s a scary prospect.

image: Sakurako Kitsa

So we often just tell everyone (and ourselves) that we haven’t created much lately because we just haven’t had time. It’s the easiest excuse.

And because most of us also feel so pressured and in demand these days, we just nod gently in sympathetic understanding, knowing how it is, wishing we too had more time to create.

It’s ok to be scared to create. In fact if you’ve been contemplating a new project for a while and, though it fills you with an excitement you’ve not felt in ages, equally it fills you with dread and trepidation, that’s a good sign! It means it has meaning for you. It’s important, it matters.

Ashley Ambirge spoke about this recently on her brilliant blog The Middle Finger Project.

“Meaning is not inherent; it is derived only when we assign meaning, which we do because we feel strongly about something.”

So rather than take on these projects that are meaningful, we shy away, we bail out. Because they make us feel alive, like we’re doing something important, something worthwhile.

What are you afraid of? What are you REALLY afraid of?

Your art not turning out as good as you hoped?

It turning out better than you hoped?

Realising how very talented you are, and how much you enjoy creating, how good it makes you feel, then wondering if you “deserve” to have these good feelings?

Ask yourself bluntly and honestly, do you REALLY have no time to create?

Or are you just making excuses and filling your life with “busy” activity because you’re scared of actually getting down to creating what matters?

It could be one of the most enlightening and empowering questions you ever ask.

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16 thoughts on “Why You’re Absolutely Terrified Of Actually Having Time To Create”

  1. Extremely valid points and very applicable to my current situation.

    I think I often waste at least 2 hours per day that could be used on being creative. I love being creative and feel, like you noted, that we feel guilty or ashamed or lazy when we set aside time to just be creative.

    Great thoughts here. I shared with my twitter friends.

    David Damron
    TMP

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    1. Thanks David for your input.

      Your recent post – Now Or Never – was definitely an influence in writing this post. I really respect your openness about where you’re at and how you’re feeling.

      Much of what I write on here is to help people with certain creative struggles that I know exist because I have them myself. We’re all learning as we go, and it’s great to have supportive people along for the ride too. πŸ™‚

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  2. Dan,
    This is just what I was supposed to hear today. I’ve been wrestling with myself over product creation and boy, did you nail this one. That’s twice today I’ve received this message.

    Thanks for posting this great piece for me to discover,
    Val πŸ™‚

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  3. Hi Val, thanks for your thoughts.

    Always glad to be of help! Fear drives so many decisions in our lives, I think it helps to be aware of it, rather than fooling ourselves with a half hearted excuse.

    It’s ok to be afraid, we all are of some things. The problems come when we deny it, and just end up wasting lots of time and not really knowing why.

    (I’m talking to myself here as much as anyone…)

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  4. I would write a longer comment but now feel compelled to go create. I have plenty of ideas to choose from, and no excuse after reading your post!

    Thanks!
    Courtney

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  5. The question “What are you really afraid of?” couldn’t have been better addressed. I’ve gone through first and second example, now I’m going through something similar to the third. Realizing that I maybe am talented for a certain thing more then I ever thought I could be, realizing how much I enjoy it and being terrified of continuously creating in that area because that could be more then it is right now.

    Here, logically, arises the question why we are afraid to create when we realize how much more we enjoy something and that it is probably what we have been searching for a long time.

    Maybe it’s the difference from here and there that keeps us away, that frightens us, that doesn’t allow us to recognize what we can do. But how do we grow pass this, except push forward and try to do that part of the creative work more often?

    This is good. Awesome post!

    Like

    1. Stella this reminds me of that Marianne Williamson quote – “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us…”

      I think you’re right, we do have to keep pushing forward. There are people that need to hear our message, that need to know there are other people like them, that’s it’s ok to be afraid, but to carry on anyway, creating what’s burning inside us desperate to be given life.

      Only I can be me, only you can be you.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Like

  6. My deepest fear is inadequacy. My excuse is that my work is and never will be good enough. And I know that nothing short of exceptional is truly worthwhile.

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    1. Rebecca, thanks for your comments.

      I’m curious, do you only enjoy to create something that you feel is “exceptional” when it’s finished? Is the end “product” your main aim? What about the enjoyment, experimentation and learning of creating as we go through each new project?

      Like

  7. Oh, great post! Everything you said is so true! Many people think that they will run out of creative ideas, but the truth is that once you really start rolling with your creative spirit you will always have too many. I find this very encouraging because it reminds me that there will always be another project and takes the pressure off the absolute brilliance of the one I’m working on. I also agree about time—I think many people are very afraid to actually act on their creative impulses because they’re afraid they won’t turn out the way they’ve imagined them in their heads. The “no time” excuse is something we all tell ourselves when we’re afraid. Even if you only have five minutes a day, you have time to start working on your creative projects. And yes, I also agree that the excitement and the fear are always companions in every project that really means something to you.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Nicole, I completely agree.

      It is difficult sometimes when we’re in the midst of one project and feel we have to give it everything we have (and will ever have) to make it as good as possible. Yes, we can give it our full focus when we’re working on it, but in the future, we will have that full focus freed and available again for whatever project we happen to be working on next. It’s an infinite source.

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  8. We are fully aligned on this subject. I do think that we can use the fear — including this fear of the act of creating — to re-enliven our creativity. This is part of the fodder that I use as an improvisational artist. I’ve written a few posts about this, so I won’t turn this comment into another essay. πŸ˜‰

    Playful blessings,
    Stan

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