The paralyzing fear that comes before creativity

by Kevin on August 19, 2010

In 16 Ton studios while recording "True"..........

Two days ago I launched a campaign to reach out to my friends/fans to raise $25,000 in pre-orders to fund the new record. I’ve raised $4,580 so far as of this morning. I gave the campaign 7 days to work.
Why did I leave it so late? The logical side of me says that 7 days is enough………people will see the post and if they dig what I do……they will pick one of the options I laid out in the original post………a simple $25 pre-order, a house concert for $1,200, or even the band for a village hall show at $3,500……..they will see it and act. That may be true, but in reality……..fear motivated me more than anything.
When you do nothing……you cannot be judged.
The voices that say…….”don’t ask for $25,000, because if you fail you will look like an idiot,” or, “or you need to reach out to a platform like Kickstarter.com…..but what if they refuse your proposal,”………so, I don’t do anything until the last minute……when I HAVE to. The judgement.
Now that i’ve reached my forties……I can look back on my creative life and see pretty clearly that alot of my creativity has been stifled by fear of failure. I wait until the last moment to deliver…….putting off judgement day until the very last.
I can even look back on my school days…….I always felt stupid in school. Algebra, geometry…….I didn’t get it. All the other kids seemed to get it. I never did homework one single time from elementary to high school. I coped by trying to be funny. Left to my own devices…..once again, I put off the judgement.
If I look at my songwriting……. definitely controlled by fear. My most important songs have had that 3rd verse that was “allusive”, or a bridge that I just couldn’t write. “Nothing” is the most important song that i’ve ever written…….because I had to write it, and I wanted it to be the most beautiful song i’d ever written…….I waited until I was literally tracking it with Matt Rollings to write the lyric to that last verse, writing it on the mic as the tape was rolling. What you hear on that recording is me writing the lyric as it was going down to tape. I might add it was on the very last day of the recording, and the strings were written by Chris Carmichael at 10pm that night…….he came into the studio at 9am to put them on the song. Again, I put the judgement off. Fear.
The bridge to “Let’s All Go to California” was written five minutes before we tracked it in a side room at the studio……….
The roadblocks that I put up in my mind to keep me from being creative are ridiculous. Creativity is about freedom, but you can’t have freedom if you are wracked with fear.

I’m facing the fear head on. I’m going to work through it.
Think of all the beautiful things that never got written, or invented, because of fear. I’m working on it. Fear nothing.
UPDATE to this blog: I went to Nashville and recorded 8 songs…….all but one were written in the studio during the day, and then at night I called in the band to record the songs. Here is “Motion Picture”……I finished most of it an hour before John Hobbs was showing up to play the piano…….except for the elusive third verse…..I finished it on the mike later that night. I think I finally broke through the barrier:

I’ve recovered from the 2010 50 States in 50 Days tour, and am now booking house concerts for this year. Get in touch if you want to host one?

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

lady goodman August 19, 2010 at 1:03 pm

you are amazing in your willingness to be vulernable
…and to make others feel less alone in their fear
freedom? oh, kevin…
creativity is more than freedom, it’s flying!
you, thankfully, have wings —
trust them, they will lift you up

kevinmontgomery August 19, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Thank you………it’s not easy to be vulnerable, but when you do……you find out that there alot of people just like you out there.

Paulcave_uk August 19, 2010 at 5:34 pm

Do you mean ‘elusive’?

Martin James Dowds August 28, 2010 at 10:20 pm

“Fear Nothing” sounds like a title for something of yours, created and earned. Martin

kevinmontgomery August 30, 2010 at 5:48 am

Thanks man!

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