My mind is still reeling after the Hello Etsy conference last weekend, and I’ll be writing quite a bit about it in coming days. Etsy has put several of the talks from a variety of conference venues up on Livestream, and there’s a wealth of solid, inspiring, thought-provoking information in them. As I write this, I’m listening to Jenny Hart’s talk at the Smithsonian.

Anyway. I just stumbled onto this poster on Pinterest, and I must vehemently disagree.

Don’t hide from your fear. Don’t deny it. Don’t feel ashamed of it. Everyone who creates things – and especially those of us who want to make a living being creative – feels afraid. The kicker is not to be paralyzed by that fear. The kicker is not to give up before you get started. The kicker is to accept that failure is a part of creativity.


Be afraid. Be very afraid.

But do it anyway.

Someone in my session at the conference said, “You can be afraid and not do it, or you can be afraid and do it.” I wanted to lift her up on my shoulders and parade her around the place.

And when you fail – for fail you must at some point or another, or maybe even every day – take stock, rev your fear back up, and get back to creating.

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piper ewan

This quote from Chad Dickerson’s speech has been floating around twitter: ” Every time you fail, you get closer to the solution, because there’s one less thing you have to try.”

Isaac B Watson

I lift a quote from Frank Herbert in Dune: “Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.” I attended a lecture recently at the start of the academic year at PNCA, and the visiting artists kept saying “Fail better.” I still have a lot of thinking to do around failure, success and our minds, but that’s what I have to say for now.


At first, I was inclined to agree to the poster because I, too, am often paralysed by the prospect of failure. But you are right: We cannot overcome that fear by suppressing it, but by accepting it.
Thanks a lot!

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