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The UPS Package of Fear

After the most perfect day imaginable (scootering up the Albanian Riviera on roads that wound up mountains plunging into the Adriatic, arms around my boyfriend’s waist), I stared over the beach on the outskirts of Vlorë and wondered why all I felt like doing was getting blackout drunk.

The road to Vlorë.

Some nameless terror was lurking, and, rather than address it, I fantasised about obliterating myself temporarily.

Luckily, Kevin doesn’t drink much these days, and neither do I, so instead I ate a bunch of cookies, read some Margaret Atwood, and went to sleep.

And I woke up with a creative product (this post) delivered in my head like a UPS package.

That always seems to happen after workless days, which corroborates Graham Wallas’s theory about the steps of the creative process: Preparation, Incubation, Illumination, and Verification.

As a recovering workaholic, I like the first and final steps, but I have trouble with the second one, which involves… not working. Without a constant traffic of ideas in my head, anxieties can bubble up like swamp fumes.

On this particular morning, the sender’s address of my metaphorical UPS package bore my fear’s name:

I’m Afraid Of Launching This Blog.

I’m afraid no one’s going to like it, you’ll all think it’s stupid, and no one’s going to care.

Knowing the cause of my malaise was actually a comfort, because over the last year, I’ve spent a lot of time researching the creative process, and one of my key findings has been this:

Nearly all artists, regardless of discipline or level of success, struggle with the same fears. The fact that I still have them doesn’t mean they’re accurate.

What matters is that I’m still writing consistently and creatively in spite of them: I’m working on the sixth draft of an urban fantasy novel about a gorgeous woman who shapeshifts into a pomeranian, I’m compiling a collection of short stories, and now I’ll be blogging too, whether you like it or not.

Morning at our hotel in Vlorë.

Each week, I’ll publish an article I’ve written about creativity: how to get it, use it, and keep it. I’ll break down the research, share with what works, and pull back the curtain on my own creative process. I’ll also interview artists from as many disciplines as possible, because although the tools are different, the struggles are the same, and we can all help each other.

Right now, I want to hear from you: what are you working on? What do you wish you were working on? If you’re not doing it, why aren’t you? Share your answers in the comments.

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  1. Leah says

    I love your honesty and relatable writing! I think you are courageous to share your voice as you do have so much to share and say!!

    I’m currently about to put together some energy balls for snacks, it is creative as I am not following a recipe! I am also about to make my first gluten free dairy free muffins, and a batch of pumpkin pinto beans. It’s scary because the Ingredients are expensive and I don’t want to work hard and have them taste bad! Wish me luck! Looking forward to your next blog entry!!

  2. Bernice says

    Looking forward to Mondays and Fridays now. Your sister and you inspire me to think of ways to be more creative.

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  4. Thanks so much for your blog! As a musician and artist (I dare not say the C* word because I feel I’ve never written any proper music to be called composer…), I often feel this creative block and negative self talk sabotaging my work… Looking forward to reading you! 🙂

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