Today if anyone asks me, "Who am I ?" I can answer that I am a writer.

It wasn’t always this way. For many, many years, I ran away from being a writer. I was terrified of putting pen to paper, or fingers to computer keyboard, even though I knew since I was a little kid that I was desperate to have a creative life, to write, to paint, to sing. I was scared to do all these things even though I really, really wanted to do them.

I knew that I had creative ideas, but I was never able to carry them out, not even in the slightest. The truth is, I was scared. I was petrified. What was I scared of? I was scared of failing at being creative, and I was scared of succeeding. I was constantly depressed and I felt out of place everywhere.

I have met many other creative people who also had similar problems. I’ve had many talks with them about what our fears really are. Fearing success, and fearing failure. Some creative people I’ve met had only one of these fears, and some of us had both.

Why is fear of success and fear of failure so strong in creative people?

I think that many creative people have such incredible, inspiring visions in their minds of what they want to create, and what they want to be, that the reality always falls very, very far short of what they want to accomplish. Then they start to hate themselves for not being able to create what they wanted in a perfect way.

They start on their creative project, but as soon as they are about two percent of the way into it, they realize that it’s not turning out nearly as good as they expected. If they keep going, will the entire project be as bad as it looks right now? What does that say about the creative genius they imagined themselves to be?

Isn’t it easier to stop right now? Just bury the whole thing? Give it up, throw it in the trash? Find someone else’s work to criticize, badmouth some other artist to your friends for being a sellout, a no-talent hack. Get everyone’s eyes off your own failed work and your own lack of talent. Get your own eyes turned elsewhere.

For me, the turning point came when I took an aptitude test after I lost my job. The test said that out of ten thousand people tested, I had the best writing skills and creativity. I was in the top, top, uppermost percentile.

I was shocked. I suddenly had no excuses.

I realized, that if I wasn’t supposed to write, who was?

After that, I made creativity my life.

As I finally started to do those creative things I had put off for so many years, I started to learn much more about what creativity was, and what it wasn’t. I learned that creativity can improve the more you do it, but you can’t think about it too much.

I used to think I had to wait for inspiration to strike me, but now I realize I get better results when I think of creativity as my job, I just go ahead and do it. I don’t moan and complain that I don’t have inspiration today. I don’t complain when things don’t work out the way they were supposed to.

Now when I see that a creative project isn’t working out the way I thought it should, it becomes a challenge to me to fix it. Working on that challenge feels good, not frustrating the way it used to. I no longer view a creative project that isn’t working as a proof that I am a failure and that I should just give up.

The truth is, creativity is not about perfection. Creativity is messy. If you think creativity is about achieving some standard of perfection, you are chasing perfection in the wrong place.

To be creative, you have to find the courage to say, yes I can do this, I can make this, and I stand behind it. It can be less than perfect, but I did it, here it is, I can live with it!

Creativity is more like a very subtle muscle, you have to exercise it a lot before it will grow.

You have to stop listening too much to the opinions of others, because there are always a lot of people who are willing to shoot you down.

Yes, it does take courage to be creative, but I think you can develop more courage the more you do the creative thing you need to do. You can get used to the terror of creating and knowing that you will probably succeed if you stick to your project.

As any creative person knows, you learn so much from wrestling with your creative problems. What you learn from this struggle is very hard to explain to anyone else who isn’t creative, but it’s a deep and rewarding encounter with some part of you that can’t get expression any other way.

After a lifetime spent running away from creativity, I finally learned how to be creative. How I overcame my fears of failure and my fears of success.

Author's Bio: 

This article on creativity was written by Royane Real, author of the popular book "How You Can Be Smarter – Use Your Brain to Learn Faster, Remember Better and Be More Creative" You can read more self improvement articles on creativity and other topics at her brand new website at