Fears are a natural part of the creative process. All multi-talented people experience fear, anxiety, worry and resistance at some point. Today we continue our strategies for fighting fear. After you’ve identified the true nature of your fears and resistance (see Part One of this series), you can then use proven techniques to manage and reduce them. Part 2 of this series presented three ways to overcome fear and how to manage creative fears.

Here are seven more proven techniques to reduce anxiety and overcome fear in the creative process:

Approach #4: Baby Steps

However you get yourself to action – from logic or emotional changes or something else -- the important thing is to take baby steps. Rather than trying to write your novel entire today, aim to write X number of pages every day this month. Rather than committing yourself to generate an entire art show this week, give yourself credit for every action towards that goal: applying gesso to canvas #1; sketching art piece #2; buying supplies for art piece # 3 – whatever you do, keep track and praise yourself for every positive action towards your goal.

Approach #5: Focus on what you love, not what you fear

Sometimes we get stuck in fear – we obsess over our anxieties and concerns and fan our fears to terrifying new levels.

To the extent that we can respond to fears with love, we can quell our anxieties. For example, let’s say you’re afraid to fire up the soldering torch. Why are you trying to do this anyway? Presumably, you’re doing it because you love making things. Remember why you love it. Dwell on the specifics of what you love about it. Recall that feeling of ‘flow’ – that healthy high that happens when you find yourself lost in moments of unadulterated creativity. Now break out the striker and start soldering!

Approach #6: Practice taking risks

Martha Beck suggests that you can inoculate yourself from fear by taking a risk every day. This is too scary for me, but it might work for you.

She advocates that each day, you should “choose any scary goal”, then “take the smallest scary step possible”. Further, she advise that you “make backing out as hard as going forward” by publicly committing yourself to take this action or by committing money to the cause. You could email everyone you know and tell them you’re going to do X, for example, and if you don’t you’ll donate $100 to a cause you abhor.

Approach # 7: Fake It ‘til You Make It

If all else fails, you may have to pretend. Hide your fears and anxiety from others and from yourself. Act as if you are supremely confident. The more you can play the role of a fear-free being, the less fear you’ll actually experience.

Approach # 8: Rituals and Habits

If you set up a regular routine for steady progress, there’s little place for fear or anxiety. If you tend to do the same thing in the same place at the same time, you’re comfort level will prevent fears from arising.

What habits would help you?

Can you create a pleasant, regular ritual to aid your progress? Perhaps a cup of tea or some non-distracting music or a preparatory meditation to center yourself?

Tip: whatever it is that give you creative juice – be it playing your guitar or writing or painting -- make it a habit to do it first thing in the morning. If you start each day with what is most important – even if only for half an hour – you will make daily progress, you’ll feel better and your fears will dissipate.

Some people find it helpful to put reminders and talismen around them. It could be a small collection of meaningful objects – or a collage – or photos that inspire and soothe you. Lisa tape recorded herself at a writing workshop. Whenever she finds herself feeling fearful or doubting her work, she plays a bit of the tape – it’s very inspiring to hear the excitement in her voice when she first described her project.

It’s also nice to collect an Inspiration Folder of ideas, articles and images that pump up your enthusiasm. This can include the accomplishments of role models as well as your own.

Approach #9: Meditate

One of the proven cures for short-term fear and long-term anxiety is meditation. It doesn’t have to be a major undertaking – even five minutes of quiet time will make a difference.

* Set a timer for five (or more) minutes. Clear your mind and focus on your breathing. If a thought pops up, gently push it aside and return to your breathing.

For best results, do this several times a day, every day. Meditation expert Youngey Mingyur Rinpoche recommends numerous very short meditations during the day.

Approach #10: Trick Yourself

When all else fails and you're still steeped in anxiety, trick yourself.

* set a timer for five minutes. Tell yourself “Okay, I’m scared, but I only have to do this for five minutes.” You may well find that when the timer goes off, your fear has dissipated and you’ll WANT to continue working.


1. Identify your top fear or anxiety at this moment.
2. Try at least one of these approaches.
3. Think about what has worked for you in the past – how have you overcome fear? How can you apply that to your present circumstance?


(c) Liisa Kyle, Ph.D.


If you’d like to share or publish this article, you may, if you include the author’s name (Liisa Kyle, Ph.D.), copyright notice and the following text blurb:
Are you struggling with too many talents, skills, ideas? You may have The Da Vinci Dilemma™! Find tools, fun quizzes, coaching, inspiration and solutions for multi-talented people at http://www.davincidilemma.com/.

Author's Bio: 

Liisa Kyle, Ph.D. is the go-to coach for smart, creative people who want to overcome challenges, get organized, get things done and get more out of life (www.CoachingForCreativePeople.com).

Liisa Kyle is also an internationally published writer/editor/photographer as well as author of books including "YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE: A Workbook to Become the Person You Want to Be" Available here: http://bit.ly/ChangeYourLifeWorkbook).

If you are a creative person with too many ideas and too much to do, check out her other helpful articles here: www.DavinciDilemma.com