I sometimes wait before I respond to a message in fear of seeming too excited. Or, I put massive amounts of stress on myself as I often produce work from a place of urgency. Every now and then, I end up taking things personally that I shouldn’t, often triggering a massive mood swing. Some of these may remind you of yourself, or none at all. It’s a spectrum when discussing anxiety. Triggers and reactions look different for everyone. I often fell somewhere on the spectrum between insecurity, doubt, and fear – impacting all aspects of my life. This is especially true when considering my creative journey thus far. 

I’ve always loved writing in all forms. Writing has consistently been my preferred form of self-expression. Whether it was the lyrics I used to write as an aspiring MC in middle school or the research papers I enjoyed through high school and college. Ultimately though, it was my love for film and content creation that drew me to the practice of screenwriting. 

Starting my first script in 2017, I threw myself completely into the process with a half-baked idea and not too much knowledge of the craft. I didn’t fully realize the specific skills it took to create meaningful and human characters with a voice of their own. I didn’t understand how to write scenes that fully displayed the world you’re trying to create. I didn’t really know much, at all.  Due to this doubt, it took a year to tell anyone I was serious about writing & upwards of a year and a half to show anybody my work. I often ask myself, what was I so afraid of? Every now and then, I ask myself, what am I still so afraid of? 

“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcomed, but when we are silent we are still afraid, so it is better to speak” – Audre Lorde

My journey as an anxious creator is rooted in feelings of imposter syndrome. As if anyone with access to my work, at any time, can tell me it’s not for me – crushing my dream and myself in the process. My journey as an anxious creator is also rooted in an effort to achieve perfectionism, which itself is situated in white supremacy culture. My journey as an anxious creator often comes from the search for validation, rather than the self-realization of creating. At times in my journey, anxiety forced me to cut myself off from both collaboration and the gift of sharing what I love with the world around me. I made a commitment to change that. 

For anyone who relates to this, what you have to share is important. More significantly, what’s stopping you isn’t – as whatever you may be feeling is rooted in denying yourself everything you’re deserving of. Wherever you find yourself in the creative realm, your contributions matter and could touch people in ways you can’t imagine.

The more tragic reality is that you may not be trusting in what you do, as we’ve been dangerously socialized into believing that perfection is real and that we should only allow ourselves and what we produce to be seen in that form. Not only are both far from the truth, but they also completely erase what makes artistic expression so valuable. Art expresses so much. It’s authentic, raw, sometimes even ugly – but the beauty in self-expression lies in its necessity. 

I had to trust what I created as being unique to me – meaning that that work, like myself, deserved to be in the world for that reason. That’s enough for me, and I hope that’s enough for you. So write that song, make that movie, create that piece, because you never know where it can lead. The biggest reward is that it can even lead you closer to yourself.