Fear and the Creative Process: A Manifesto for Creative Survival –Valerie Curtis-Newton


Find the Fear in the room and face it.

Its presence says the work is important.

Everyone is afraid.

It is nothing to be ashamed of.

Things that make you afraid reveal your heart.

Scared is ok. Paralyzed is not so much. Do what you must to move—to take even the smallest step forward each day.

You are not your work. The things we create are not who we are.


Leap, if you hope to fly.

Do the hardest, scariest thing first. No matter how badly it may go, you won’t die. You’ll learn something about the work and about yourself.

Practice compassion for yourself and for others.

Stay open. Listen. Don’t be so afraid of hearing the worst that you don’t stay present to the possibility of hear the best.

Be willing to deal with the consequences of your choices.

Be humble enough to ask for support.

Cultivate Courage, Confidence, and Compassion. Commit to physical, spiritual, and intellectual practice.

Enter the work boldly believing that there are 1,000,000 ideas in the air.


Don’t drink the Kool-Aid of approval seeking. To hell with what others might think.

Burn the tape that plays “I am not good

not smart

not worthy enough to be among the good and talented. I deserve to be left on an ice float to die.” Melt the Ice Float.

Try out as many ideas as you can. Be artistically promiscuous.

Practice healthy detachment. Lower the stakes—not the bar.

Tenacity is showing up. The willingness to show up changes us. Be tenacious.

Equivocation is poison. Have something to say. Be brave enough to say it.

Use your art to change the world one project at a time.

Give what you have.

Don’t wait for everything to be perfect. Start with what you have to offer today. It will be more than enough.

Don’t erect altars to your failures.

Police your self-talk. Root out: “I can’t…I’m not…I’m afraid that…” They are fear words.

Make a choice. And Act.

Prioritize Joy in the doing.

Expect miracles every day. You are built for Success.

Know who you are at your core—courageous, competent, strong, free.

Celebrate the opportunity to shine. BREATHE. Then, leap again.

–Valerie Curtis-Newton