fear has stifled my creativity

Woody Allen: ‘I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.’

Fear. The bane of my life and of many other artists.

The crippling of creativity and sales. The all encompassing knowledge that I am not good enough and a fraud. Yes! A fraud.

When I was growing up all I wanted to do was be an artist. It was not ‘done’ however and, instead, I was expected to marry well and be wealthy and the lady I’d been brought up to be.

Rebelling young I left home under cover of darkness, not to return until thoroughly browbeaten by the truth of a life on the streets

I pushed all thoughts of art from my mind and worked diligently at forgetting past mistakes and moving forward. Then suddenly, years later, I knew I had to be a painter. I was meant to be a painter. Everything had led me to this defining moment…..except, the nagging doubts cast by those bad years have permeated into my everyday existence and now, although by profession an artist, I do not feel like an artist. I feel like a fraud. My whole life is wrapped up in art. I work with a vast company and artists. I work on art commissions. I paint. But I feel like it’s not me. That I’m not good. Not real. Not competent.

This fear has held me back from Exhibitions. It’s stopped me telling people I meet what I do. Oh sure I say I’m an artist…that is, after all, what I do, but I brush over it like it is of no consequence. If they ask if I’m any good, (always to me a strange question) I say not really. Or shrug.

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If they ask how much I charge, I burst out with, too much…or…. oh, not much. I even wrote out a price gauge to give people when I was asked, but felt too embarrassed to hand it over, feeling I didn’t deserve that money.

Every painting I’ve ever sold I’ve given a discount on. I have a fair price but discount it. Every time.

Fear of being proud
Fear of being responsible
Fear of being called not good by others
Fear of going to the doors I need to open to move forward

Fear of being ridiculed, rejected.

Fear has been the bane of my life……..but I’m not the only one.

Isabella F A Shores
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Isabella F A Shores

Founder /Artist at YoursByShores
Hello, my name is Isabella Shores.I'm a dog lover with two Alsatians.A bird lover...2 budgies, and an avid writer.

I live in Manchester, UK and try to promote other artists and writers when I can.I'm so pleased you found our community and I hope to chat to you soon!!Please comment on my posts if you like them 🙂
Isabella F A Shores
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Ludwig Keck

You are in good company. Artists throughout the world and throughout history have always had self-doubt, feelings of inadequacy. Looking at a finished work, you and most of us, feel that it is not the pinnacle of achievement. Far from it, it does not convey the strength of feelings, the depth of emotions, that went into the piece. Consider the story of van Gogh. He sold but a few works, yet is now considered one of the greatest painters of all time. We must not judge ourselves. We must follow our passion, pour our soul into our work. Let others… Read more »

Byron Rempel

Nice little article … but how does one overcome that fear?

Ludwig Keck

Did you notice that in my comment I totally ignored the subject of your lament? How could I be so callous? How could I be so ignorant? How could I be so insensitive?

No, I did not really avoid the topic. I simply refuse to allow a shallow four-letter word to dominate. It is but a symptom, the manifestation of our uncertainty. Refuse to recognize the existence of fear!

Byron Rempel

I think part of the problem, at least for me, is needing that money so badly that i undersell or devalue my work because I’m afraid if i ask what i think i am worth I’ll get nothing. Crazy thinking … in the end i have to work ten times harder :-/


This is so understandable by someone who constantly 2nd guesses himself.

Excellent post

Kathy K. McClellan

I don’t know that I can refuse to recognize it’s existence when it’s so prevalent in my life! Isn’t that being in denial?

Don’t we need to recognize it before we can learn to overcome it? Or at least ride along with it in a productive way?

Mask it? Been there. Done that.

You’d think as old as some of us are we would have already learned how to “lasso” this predicament of fear.


You raise an interesting point. But is it really fear, or self-doubt? You list 5 “fears” but perhaps to conquer them you need to take them one at a time. I know I over use this phrase but art is subjective. If what you are doing achieves what you wanted to achieve and you know you tried your best and you are happy with it then you have nothing to fear. To modify a phrase of Sam Goldwyn, a little bit: most people’s verbal opinions aren’t worth the paper they’re written on…. 😉


The emphasis should always be on YOU not on think.. If YOU are happy with what you have created that’s good enough. Perhaps the audience is just too closed minded or crass to get it. YOU know if what you do is any good. If someone else can point out a technical aspect or clearly articulate a meaningful viewpoint then that’s fine – listen to them, but if they cannot then move on.
As I get older I care even less for other people’s opinions on things that I have created for my own reasons.


Ah, my misunderstanding. I took it to mean you were thinking negatively :-/


Really awesome article! Although a difficult topic, it’s important to address. Many of us or at least I relate.


Isabella, that is such a painfully honest and beautiful piece. Please don’t let those negative thought gremlins define you!