Overcoming Fears Around Creativity

Creativity isn’t just for artsy people. Instead, the potential for creativity lives within each of us.

Yet, for both children and adults, fear can often dim this light, casting a shadow of hesitation and doubt.

What if I’m not good at it?
What if it looks silly?
What if nobody else likes it?
What if it’s too hard? What if nobody gets it?
What if no one can tell what it is?

Being afraid to create can often be traced back to childhood experiences, and understanding these connections is crucial to unpacking our baggage and fostering a creative environment for our children. For many homeschooling parents, their own fear of creating can keep them from engaging their student in art education. But the truth is, you don’t have to be or feel “artistic” to open the world of artistic possibilities and expression to your child


Where does the fear of creativity come from?

Both fear and creativity are natural human experiences. The fear of creativity can manifest in various ways.

 • Fear of failure: The nervousness that our art won't be good enough, leading to disappointment and self-criticism.

• Fear of judgment: The worry of being ridiculed or criticized by others for our work, stoking a sense of vulnerability and shame.

• Fear of the unknown: Stepping outside our comfort zone and embracing the unpredictable nature of the creative process can be daunting, leading to feelings of insecurity and anxiety.

 Many of these fears, particularly the fear of judgment and failure, can stem from experiences in our childhood. Perhaps our early attempts at creativity were met with negativity, discouragement, or even harsh criticism. These experiences, even unintentional ones, can leave lasting impressions that translate into creative anxiety in adulthood.

 How do you know if your child has a fear of creativity? Perhaps you’ve noticed your child’s perfectionism, self-criticism, a fear of failure, or general disinterest in art projects.

Learning from Elizabeth Gilbert’s "Big Magic"

In her book "Big Magic," Elizabeth Gilbert explains the importance of approaching creativity with a sense of playful courage, meaning that we must acknowledge our fears while choosing to move forward and embrace the creative process regardless of the outcome. By adopting this mindset, we can learn to let go of the fear of failure and judgment, allowing ourselves to connect with the joy of the creative journey.

“To me creative living is any life that is guided more strongly by curiosity than fear.” Elizabeth Gilbert

Helping Your Child Become a Fearless Artist

How can we help children overcome their creative fears and embrace the joy of creation? Here are some key strategies:

• Free Play and Exploration: Provide a space and materials for free and unstructured play. This allows children to explore their creative inclinations without limitations or expectations. Offer a variety of materials like crayons, paints, play dough, blocks, and recycled items, and let their imaginations guide them.

•It’s About the Process, not the Product: Shift the focus away from the final product and instead celebrate the creative process itself. Encourage exploration, experimentation, and trying new things. Talk about the fun and enjoyment of creating, focusing on the journey rather than the destination.

• Model Creative Behavior: Children learn by observing. Be a role model for them by embracing your own creativity by taking up a new hobby or pursuing a long-forgotten passion. Let them see that creativity is not something reserved for “creative” or “artsy” people, but rather a potential in every person.

• Make Your Home a Safe Space for Expression: Create a supportive and encouraging environment where children feel comfortable expressing themselves freely without fear of judgment or criticism. Celebrate their ideas, offering positive feedback that focuses on their effort and enthusiasm to help build their confidence and encourage them to develop their creative potential.

• Incorporate Artist Dates: Join your child on "Artist Dates" where they can explore their creativity independently and in an unstructured setting. Some examples include visiting a museum, taking a walk in the nearby park, looking at clouds, heading to a thrift store, or having a picnic to let inspiration come to them.


Creativity isn’t reserved for special people. Creativity is a lifelong journey, and overcoming fear is an ongoing process. By working to create a supportive environment, embracing playful exploration, and encouraging children to connect with the joy of making art, we can empower them to become fearless artists, ready to express themselves through art.


For more ways to support creative living without fear, join the Art Club and your child will receive expertly designed art lessons delivered every month, all supplies included! Your child will learn a new art technique and watch art come to life with video tutorials, illustrated guides, and a coordinating book that ties everything together.

About the Insider’s Club

The Outside the Box Insider’s Club is a monthly digital membership that includes videos, downloadable curriculum/project plans, and tips to make it easy for parents to do art regularly with their kids! If you know someone who would enjoy this, please share the Outside the Box Insider's Club. If you have been a box subscriber for a year or more and have accumulated a large stash of art supplies, you may want to switch to the Insider's Club digital membership.

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