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Article: Crashing Creative Anxiety


Crashing Creative Anxiety

Author: Kathleen Killem

I need to get into a creative space! Could mean; I need to lock myself in my room with no internet access and stare at the blank pages of my note book without food or water all weekend. Or it could just be that I need to relax, remember why I love it and take a deep breath so creativity can flow. Creative anxiety can be described as the state of distress that impedes progress of expression of insight or creative thought. I had to construct this definition because the concept is relatively unfamiliar and not yet thoroughly analyzed by psychology. I did find an article on a study of children, teens and adults where almost all children were considered creative geniuses at age five (when compared to standards such as Mozart or Einstein) but displayed 96% creative decline by age 18. ( The study concludes that we are likely born creative and lose the capacity over time due to societal conformity.

Think about how old you were the first time you couldn’t find anything to wear? The first time you felt like colors needed to match to be acceptable and to whom. I wore red cowboy boots to school everyday in first grade. Stomping with confidence.

After my break from performance to focus on my wedding season, I struggled to get back into creative “flow”. My “self” was yelling at me to hurry up and provide content to top my last piece, visual or feature. I was overwhelmed by self imposed expectations of navigating a creative profession amidst a rapidly declining audience attention span and growing field of competent creators. I was forcing subject matter, nothing gave me the feeling all artist get when.. you just know. My “self” was saying, “bruh, you suck!” I recently found this quote that accurately described my SOS.

“When we are jumping from idea and idea, topic to topic, chasing achievements, looking for the internal and external rewards, we set ourselves up for frustration”.

I closed my notebook. I increased my prayer time, thanking God for the gift of creation, articulation and any listening audience to impact regardless of size. I surrendered to the idea that my creativity is not mine to evoke on command but a gift I have the privilege of exercising.

I realized my desire to control outcomes was the source of my creative demise. What if I fail? What if I’m wildly successful, blah, blah, blah.

I read more, listened to my favorite artist for inspiration and enjoyment. I vented, a lot. My husband, family and mentors reinforced my confidence and clarity regarding my purpose.

I had to make an effort to just live and let happen.

Creative anxiety is normal and perhaps unavoidable. Research shows, we adopt a mindset of negativity after age 5 to manage expectations and survive human interaction. (insert crying emoji face) How we respond is the key. I hope sharing serves as confirmation; creating and sharing new ideas takes courage, you are not alone to doubt your capabilities, tools/practices can be implemented to overcome and if you never create another thing, you are still dope AF.


Kat Killem

Originally Posted By: Spoken By Kathleen

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#1: Blue Sage Eco Boutique Chakra Candles

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