The Great Pretender

Creativity can feel like a mysterious process. It relies on conjuring up new ideas, without necessarily knowing where they come from and seeking inspiration without knowing where to find it.

“When you do not know what you are doing and what you are doing is the best — that is inspiration.” ~ Robert Bresson

When you choose to make your living from your creative abilities you put yourself at the mercy of a process that you can never fully understand or control. It’s a scary thing to do. It takes courage and confidence. And sometimes the only thing that separates a professional creative from a wannabe is self-belief.

Unfortunately, unless you’re endowed with a self-belief bordering on the pathological, there will be times when you lose confidence. Insecurity and fear can stalk the creative process, but they don’t have to paralyse it. Acknowledging those emotions, and keeping them in check, is essential.

“Giving in to the fear of failure is a self fulfilling prophecy.”

As a creative, if you wake up in the morning worrying about whether you can create anything worthwhile that day, remind yourself that many people lack the confidence to even attempt what you do. You choose to do something extraordinary – to have ideas and give them form. Every time you do that you expose yourself to both the risk of failure and the risk of success. If you recognise fear as just a part of doing what you do, you can celebrate your choice of work. If you let it rule your thoughts you may wonder why you spent your day confronting blockages and barriers.

Contract negotiations based on a foundation of fear will always be fraught with anxiety and over-protectiveness. It’s important too for the negotiators on the other side of the table to recognise this vulnerability and make allowances for an occasional outburst of emotion. However, anyone who tries to take advantage of a creative person’s insecurities may very quickly find themselves with failed negotiations. As usual, understanding and communication are the most effective tools for a successful outcome: bullying and over-exploitation will produce the exact opposite result.

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