How to Overcome the Fear of a Blank Sheet of Paper?

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Fear accompanies any new idea – this is natural for humans. In fact, this is part of an evolutionary mechanism – the instinct of self-preservation. After all, if you do something new, you do not know what will happen, so it is safer not to change anything and leave everything as it is.

Experts generally believe that fear is normal, but its absence is more likely a deviation from the norm. But in order to move on in life, you still need to learn how to deal with this fear.

What is good for human survival is not always good for development. Moreover, in the creative domain, every new project, be it an essay or a musical composition, a new book or a film is always a step into the unknown. The fear of new things is our innate trait. But without taking the first step, it is impossible to know what will happen next.

Internal sensations: run away or freeze?

Creators are tormented by questions: is it realistic to realize an idea or write a book? And if it doesn’t work out, what will I live on?

Anxiety, and sometimes real panic, fetters our hands and feet, prohibits us from acting. At such moments, it seems that nothing will work out: the idea is bad, the timing is not right, the situation is not favorable, or the creator is mediocre. And everything that we do is of no use to anyone. Creative people plunge into anxiety states, from which it is even more difficult to start acting. We fall into a vicious circle and, over time, cease to feel our capabilities and realize our value.

When faced with something new, the mechanism of instinctive reactions turns on: run away or freeze. In the first case, the creator, after coming up with a new idea, immediately decides not to do anything. The reasons may vary: lack of money, there is no time, it will not work, and so on.

In the event of freezing, the creator may decide to implement the idea, but often falls into a stupor and does nothing. The resulting state of mind often manifests itself in the form of laziness or apathy.

The good news is that this situation does not have to be a dead-end – there are effective methods to overcome it.

Method number 1. Start doing

Often, this method is very helpful when we struggle to begin writing. We are usually afraid of lack of inspiration, shortage of good ideas, we cannot see any clear structure, and many other reasons are hindering our creativity. 

Professional writers’ advice is to just start writing. Regardless if you have a good idea in mind or not, beginning writing about something, will help to boost your creativity and aid the flow of fresh ideas into your head. 

Method number 2. Small steps

The best solution to cope with the fear of the first step is to divide the task into many small steps. This is the very practice of small steps, which is so much talked about.

To prevent a new idea from scaring you with its complexity and importance, divide the matter into small and understandable steps. The person may not be able to cope with the whole task, after all. Once you start taking small steps, the first results of your work will be seen immediately. This will add confidence in your abilities, there might be even a feeling of control over what is happening.

Pro tip: the matter of financing should be highlighted in a separate step and put closer to the end of the whole work – it will be easier this way. After all, instinctive reactions will begin to retreat when you are convinced that there is no danger. And the first steps bring only satisfaction from accomplishments.

Method number 3. Supporting questions

The second help you can give yourself is the practice of supporting questions.

The next time panic hits, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that can happen to me?” And asking yourself this question, clarify: and then? And again: and then?

This way you will develop the consciousness that even in the event of complete failure and lack of money, you will not lose what you already have. This means that any scenario during the implementation of a new idea is better than inaction.

And remember: believing in something is a huge success factor. Similarly, any fear works only to the extent that you believe in it.