Do you ever feel a twinge of insecurity right before you share your creative work with someone?
Even if you’re 100 percent proud of what you’ve created, a small part of yourself feels doubtful about showing it to others, and you can’t explain why.
I have this theory that I’ve dubbed “creative embarrassment” for the sake of semantics. Essentially, creative embarrassment is a feeling that we get when we’re so caught up in our fears that we convince ourselves what we’ve created isn’t good enough before it has a chance to be evaluated by anybody else.
It’s a feeling that develops from the sheer terror of vulnerability, an inevitable part of being in any creative field. More often than not, creativity and vulnerability are interrelated. As I am sure we all know, many of the world’s most important creative works were born out of places of vulnerability. It is in openness and willingness that we are able to be our most authentic selves, which inspires our best work. Creativity requires us to be direct about things we would otherwise want to keep closely guarded.
However, having this knowledge doesn’t make sharing any easier. We still plant seeds of doubt in our own heads, telling ourselves that our vulnerability isn’t as strong or as poignant as someone else’s. That what we’ve created may look good in our eyes, but it won’t to anyone else. That it’s better to keep our work to ourselves than to hear criticism of something we’ve poured our energy and focus into.
So, if sharing doesn’t get easier, then how do you overcome creative embarrassment?
You just have to do it.
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I know that doesn’t seem helpful, and that reading might have made you want to roll your eyes or click away. But it’s the truth. Getting over creative embarrassment–or any obstacle for that matter–requires you to continue going in spite of your fears and your doubts. You may worry that putting yourself out there will open you up to a sea of rejection and negativity. For many reasons, those worries are justified. Being creative puts you in a vulnerable position. Sometimes it pays off, but other times the response is critical. And it can be hard to hear bad things about something you hold closely.
But you have to ask yourself this: Is it worse to fail because you tried or to fail because you didn’t try?
Not taking a risk because of your concerns will only prevent you from exploring your full potential. You’ll constantly wonder if you made the right decision or if you got in your own way.
I used to be concerned about expressing my creative side. Every time I put up a blog post, I felt nervous. My mind flooded with doubts, and I overanalyzed every little detail, fearing I would make a mistake I would later come to regret. These worries didn’t just affect me when I published content; they affected me as I wrote it, too. Uncertain about particular paragraphs, I chose to take them out–not because I didn’t like them, but because I didn’t know if other people would like them.
I carried on like this for a while, until I reached what I still consider to be my worst creative slump ever. I felt stuck. Even when I was generating ideas and writing posts, I wasn’t happy with them. They weren’t turning out the way I anticipated. So, I took some time away from blogging. And what I realized was that the reason I was feeling so meh creatively was that I wasn’t allowing myself to genuinely create. I was putting barriers around what I could and could not do simply because I was afraid to put myself out there.
After making this discovery, I knew I would have to approach creativity differently if I wanted to be proud of the results. I decided that in spite of the worries I felt, I would push myself to write whatever I wanted to write. It wasn’t an easy thing to get myself to do, especially in the beginning. But over time, I became less concerned with how other people would view my work and more concerned with how I felt about it after it was finished. Since then, I’ve felt a lot better about what I do.
So, I urge you to move forward, regardless of any creative embarrassment you may feel.
Publish that blog post. Create that YouTube channel. Launch that business.
If your heart and your mind are set on it, give it your all.
Do you ever experience creative embarrassment?
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13 thoughts on “Is Creative Embarrassment A Thing? I Think So.”
Well said–this post is spot-on! It can be SO hard to put yourself out there.
Yes Well put. The world is full of clobbering machines and at times you have to have a thick skin. My philosophy is you should never be embarrassed about something you are proud of! If you keep getting clobbered by people it is hard for you to keep that creativity up. All the best..and well written! Stacey
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Thank you! And that’s a fantastic philosophy!
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Wow thank you for this! This is exactly how a lot of bloggers feel and I go up and down in terms of my confidence with my blog. But you’re right you just need to keep on going and eventually those feelings of embarrassment will go away and it will be all confidence! Keep it up girl~
I definitely go through this with EVERYTHING.
Summed it up perfectly! And there is a lot of creative embarrassment as a blogger or content creator. But you know what has helped? Getting an honest a few loved ones to give different constructive criticism. After making the changes, eventually they do praise rightfully and encourage you and that helps TREMENDOUSLY! Personal experience🙂😊 great write-up!❤
I experience this all the time! Creative embarrassment is a great way to phrase it. I analyze and over analyze my writing, whether I should post it or not… whether I should show others my paintings, etc. I think it is hard because we want validation of our work but don’t want to be criticized or critiqued negatively, and when you’ve put time and effort into a project you want others to like it.
For me, creative embarrassment is more profound with the people I know and interact with in person, more so than those I may interact with through my blog or platforms like Twitter.
Amazing post, 100% relatable xx
Wow, amazing post! 😍 I love your creativity talks! This one is very inspiring as I guess we can all relate. It’s a sensitive topic for me because I’ve always considered myself and been considered as someone who is creative, but I barely do anything creative. I have SO MANY ideas in my mind but I’m always embarrassed to try them out. Thank you so much for this inspiring post 😘 😘
I get this feeling every time i post my art on Instagram or when i’m deciding on ideas on blog posts. This post was really great and inspiring!