Can you believe this word?
This is real – this word (that I cannot pronounce) means the fear of imperfect creative activity. It fits so perfectly with my thoughts of late. Its January, I am making a million plans about how much more I will paint, how I will start new journals, fill a new sketch book. But I am frozen solid with fear. All these beautiful pristine clean pages and canvases. What if I eff it up? What if I do it wrong? What if it looks ridiculous? This book/journal/canvas/paint cost a fortune, it will be a waste!!
Do you experience this? The fear of ruining a beautiful, pristine, blank piece of paper, or a new canvas? So many of us seem to have it as we stare down at that first intimidating page in a brand-new journal or sketch-book, sitting there so full of potential and great ideas of what ‘could be'; that is, until we make that first stroke of a pen, the first sweep of a brush. The things that could potentially rest on those pristine sheets are the things dreams are made of – until we actually write or draw in it and eff it all up with a misplaced squiggle or a mis-spelled word. Bleergh.
It’s easy to look at new canvas and imagine the beauty and colour it could possess. It’s much harder to actually make the first move toward that beauty and risk creating a garbled brown mess.
But here is the thing; here is why I love this unpronounceable word so much – Am I afraid of all blank canvas? No, not at all. It isn’t blank canvas by itself that scares me, but the ruining of said canvas by creating something unworthy of it, something ugly or uninspiring, or worse, something that just makes no sense. Is it a fear of failure? Well, of course, but it isn’t a fear of failure overall, it is fear of failure at this one specific task of making something awesome on this canvas.
There is this cool Brissy jewelry maker who came up with a bunch of word to label some of our fears about starting a new work. Kat coined some words that explain some of our worst worries. Have a look at what she came up with:
Atepapyrophobia – a fear of ruined paper.
- Word origins: ‘Ate‘ from Greek Ate (goddess of rash destructive deeds). ‘Papyro‘ from Middle English / from Old French papier / from Latin papȳrus, papyrus plant, papyrus paper / from Greek papūros.
Atekanevaphobia – a fear of ruined canvas.
- Word origins: ‘Ate‘ from Greek Ate (goddess of rash destructive deeds) ‘kaneva‘ from 1260, from Anglo-Fr. canevaz / from O.Fr. canevas / from V.L. *cannapaceus “made of hemp” / from L. cannabis / from Gk. kannabis “hemp,” a Scythian or Thracian word.
Ateloaetorrophobia – the fear of an imperfect creation.
- Word origins: ‘Atelo‘ from Greek ateles literally ‘without end’, meaning incomplete, inchoate, imperfect. ‘aetroro‘ from the Greek aetorrous literally meaning ‘creating’.
Atelodemiourgiophobia – the fear of imperfect creative activity.
- Word origins: ‘Atelo‘ from Greek ateles literally ‘without end’, meaning incomplete, inchoate, imperfect. ‘Demiourgio‘ from Greek ‘demiourgia’ literally workmanship, handicraft, meaning creative activity.
Atelodemiourgiopapyrophobia – the fear of imperfect creative activity on paper.
- Word origins: ‘Atelo‘ from Greek ateles literally ‘without end’, meaning incomplete, inchoate, imperfect. ‘Demiourgio‘ from Greek ‘demiourgia’ literally workmanship, handicraft, meaning creative activity. ‘Papyro‘ from Middle English / from Old French papier / from Latin papȳrus, papyrus plant, papyrus paper / from Greek papūros.
Once we name our fears they lose their power. So get in there, just go make your very first strike no matter what it looks like!! Be brave. Be bold.