Kristen França

Finding Creative Confidence

Being creative often means being vulnerable. Creative work — writing, drawing, graphic design, photography, videography, etc. — is extremely personal, so criticism can make us feel insecure about ourselves as well as our art.

I think that this is why people are often afraid to be creative; the fear of judgment and failure keeps some from putting themselves out there. They tell themselves and the world, “I am not creative.”

Playing it safe means that no one can judge you, and that you will never get hurt. But nothing truly new or innovative has ever come from playing it safe. Sometimes, it takes going out on your own and really pushing yourself to get past that fear, which can be lonely. In the end, though, it can be very rewarding. 

I have personally experienced these exact feelings of fear at the thought of expressing myself creatively. I never thought of myself as innovative or original, so I always assumed that creativity was something that I was bad at. On the other hand, I have always had a strong appreciation for artistic people — especially writers.

Being creative sometimes means feeling alone. Photo: Kristen França/Drawn

I was that kid in school who actually enjoyed reading and writing assignments. I loved having the freedom to look at assignments from fresh angles. But that was the extent of my writing; it was always purely in the classroom setting.

Once I finished school, I jumped immediately into the workplace. Working at a creative agency, I noticed that everyone around me directed his or her creative energy toward a personal specialty or passion. I felt inspired daily, but I had no outlet for that inspiration.

One day, I had an “aha moment” and decided to start a blog. The idea made me feel both excited and terrified, which was exactly how I knew that I had to do it. At that time, I had no specific direction in mind for what I wanted to write, but I decided to just go for it.

After some serious brainstorming, I opted to create a personal blog about all of the things that I have learned in my life so far — and would continue to learn in the future. I feel that every experience that I have ever been through (good or bad) has taught me something.

The author's blog, Something New I Learned Today. Photo: Kristen França/Drawn

This was a topic about which I could easily write. This was my niche. And once I found it, it was like my creative floodgates opened.

Sometimes, I still doubt myself, but working out that creative muscle daily has helped me to push past those moments of doubt and develop a level of confidence that continues to grow. I have learned that the more you put yourself out there, the easier it becomes, and, at the end of the day, it’s really something to be proud of.

So, to anyone who has let fear push projects and passions aside: My advice is to just do it. Ignore that voice in the back of your mind that is afraid and learn to develop that creative confidence in yourself. Once you start flexing that creative muscle, it becomes hard to stop. Experimenting is where the learning, growing, and progressing happens. I am not going to guarantee that it will always be easy (especially in the beginning), but gaining creative confidence is the key to opening new doors and opportunities. Ultimately, it’s what gives you the chance to really make a difference. It also means that instead of living with, “I wish I had done that,” you can say “I did that — and I am so proud that I did.”