He who has conquered doubt and fear has conquered failureJames Lane Allen
When it comes to writing songs, nothing blocks the flow of songwriting ideas more than two small but very powerful words…
FEAR and DOUBT.
The fear comes first. I’m talking about the fear of…
- Not being good enough
- Being ridiculed by online trolls
- Being found out as not being an expert
- Not having anything to say
- People not liking my output
- Exposing myself too much
- People not liking me and my music
With the doubt following soon behind it making me…
- Play down my achievements (false humility)
- Sugar coat my message to please others
- Writing songs that lack confidence and conviction
- Second-guess everything that I do
- Strive for the unattainable, the perfect
- Become an expert at procrastination
- Not finish anything
I know that at one time or another, we’ve all experienced this dance between fear and doubt in some form or another.
I continue to do so every single day. In fact, fear and doubt have been the two main reasons why I haven’t gotten as far with my songwriting as I could have.
One of my main regrets in my life so far has been to let fear and doubt get the better of me over the years.
I’ve imagined many, many times what I could’ve achieved if I had not let fear and doubt get in the way of my professional and personal progress as a songwriter. Have you felt this way too sometimes?
Well, the next question to ask is… “What do we do about it?”
For me, I find doing these three things help a lot…
- Acknowledge the fear
- Encapsulate the fear
- Take action in spite of the fear
Acknowledge that having fears and doubts is an essential part of being a songwriter.
In fact, both are essential parts of being a human being.
Used wisely, fear is a great mechanism for assessing risk and therefore it needs to be exercised carefully but not all the time. You do need to train yourself to not feel the fear in creative situations but to embrace the play that creativity brings to the table.
I do this by just recognising that I have these fears and doubts and I have the courage and skill to deal with them when they arise.
Encapsulate your fears and doubt by writing them down.
The fear and doubt lists demonstrated above are from my own journals and already from that list I can see how silly these fears and doubts look on paper.
That’s what I find to be the beauty of writing these things down, I get a much more realistic perspective of the situation and I feel more detached from the fears and doubts because I have physically plucked them from my mind and put them down on paper.
Just take action anyway, plough through the fear and doubt.
Once you’ve written down what your fears and doubts are, the desire to create overrides the fear that comes with creation and you end up doing what you most want to do at that moment… CREATE!
If I find that if I’m feeling a fear and doubt attack coming on, I open up my journal and write down what I’m thinking and feeling.
This is essential for clearing the block that was preventing me from writing a song in the first place as I recognise that, most of the fears and doubts that I concoct inside my head are just that… INSIDE MY HEAD.
They are not real, they are not based on any facts, it’s just me being a little more vulnerable and overly cautious about my abilities as a songwriter and what I have to say at that moment.
How do you deal with your fears and doubts when it comes to your creativity? Feel free to let me know as I’m always fascinated with the stories of others faced with the same situation.