Take the Creative Leap! Overcoming Fear of Failure | Ciarra Rouwhorst | Skillshare

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Take the Creative Leap! Overcoming Fear of Failure

teacher avatar Ciarra Rouwhorst, Fine Art Calligrapher & Designer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Take the Creative Leap!


    • 2.

      What are your dreams?


    • 3.

      Over Coming You Fear Monster


    • 4.

      Create a Support System


    • 5.

      Class Project


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About This Class

If you want to teach yourself a new skill, or take your creative passion to the next level, this class is for you! Perhaps you want to lean to draw, learn calligraphy, or start a creative business. Maybe you want to turn your creative side hustle into your full time pursuit. Whatever the case, sometimes teaching yourself can feel lonely. 

Join Ciarra Rouwhorst, a self taught Calligrapher, Illustrator, Designer and Owner of Silver Fox Calligraphy and Design, as she helps you deal with roadblocks on the self-made creative path. Learn how to overcome fear of failure, and create a support system to propels you towards making creative breakthroughs. Through worksheets, class discussions, and Community (such as The Self-Made Creative Series) you will learn the life skills needed to commit to doing more creatively, whatever that means for you. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Ciarra Rouwhorst

Fine Art Calligrapher & Designer


Ciarra Rouwhorst  (Ciarra Claire) is a self-taught artist and designer. She began learning calligraphy and design right here on SkillShare in 2015. She then used those skills to start her business Ciarra Claire Fine Art in 2016 (Formerly Silver Fox Calligraphy). She works mainly with bespoke wedding stationery specializing in romantic calligraphy and watercolor illustration.

She started teaching on SkillShare in 2016, with her watercolor workshop. Since then she has launched The Self Made Creative Series. This is a collection of Skillshare classes designed to give self-taught creatives the tools they need to take creative leaps. You can also join the movement on Instagram and use the hashtag #selfmadecreative for a chance to be featured. There is also a Facebook gr... See full profile

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1. Take the Creative Leap!: Hi, I'm Ciarra Rouwhorst, a self-taught Illustrator and Calligrapher. I work mainly with hand-lettered logo design and heirloom writing stationery. I started my business in 2016. I'm completely self-taught, I've learned mostly from online resources such as Skillshare and the last time I took an art class was in eighth grade. I know what it's like to face the challenges that come with being a self-taught artist or entrepreneur. There are so many things but especially fear, fear of failure, fear of what other people think, fear that you're not going to be good enough. Those feelings can paralyze you from taking creative pursuits seriously. We're also going to talk about community and how we can build a support system for ourselves, to help us when we're discouraged or where we don't know what to do next. I'm really excited about this journey and I really want to hear about your goals. Chances are if you're taking classes on Skillshare, you have some. That can mean something different for everyone. That could mean you want to learn better photography skills so that you can take really awesome pictures of your friends and family, maybe you want to learn calligraphy because you want to make really beautiful envelopes for when you send mail or maybe you want an open an arty shop and sell art prints or maybe you want to take your creative career full-time. Whatever it is, if there's something that you want to do creatively but you're hitting some roadblocks because you're trying to teach yourself, there's classes for you. Click Enroll and let's get started. 2. What are your dreams?: The first step in this class will be to download the guide and the worksheets that come along with the class, and the first thing that we're going to do is just dream. Just allow yourself to think about what creative pursuit really catches your eye. What is the thing that you keep going back to? Maybe you say to yourself, if it wasn't for such and such a thing, I could do this. Well, what is that thing? It might be something that seems small or it might be something that seems like such a big dream that it's not attainable, but you might be surprised, maybe there's something about it that you can pursue, maybe there's something about it that you don't have to keep pushing to the side and maybe if you let go of fear and you have the proper support, those things would be more attainable. Once you print out the worksheet, I want you to take a few minutes, maybe pour yourself a cup of coffee or a glass of wine or whatever it is that you prefer. Maybe put on some cozy slippers and just get really comfortable. I think if you can get comfortable physically, it helps you to get comfortable mentally, and really let yourself think about what it is that you want to do. I want you to take fear and self doubt out of the equation. Don't feel like any dream is too big or too small and just really focus on what it is that you want and once you find that thing, I want you to write it down here. You can use your creativity, if you want to draw it or if you want to express it in some other way, that's totally cool and then you can either take a picture of it and upload it to your class project, or you can just tell us in your class project what this dream is, and a little extra credit bonus points for you, if you can go and look at other people's projects and leave them some positive feedback. You might be surprised that people are facing the same challenges as you or maybe you find someone that has the same dream as you and you can help each other out and give them a little bit of encouragement. We all need encouragement, and it's one of those things where the more you give, the more you get, so the more you share positive feedback with others you benefit from that and then you might also get some positive feedback in return. Go ahead and get started right now, print off your worksheets, get a cup of coffee, get a blanket, get comfortable, and start dreaming. 3. Over Coming You Fear Monster: Now that you've thought about what your creative goals are and your dreams are, we're going to start breaking down some of the things that might be getting in your way. I'd like you to get out your second page of that worksheet, would be the third page but the second page of content. At the top it says, let go of your fear monster. I know, sounds a little crazy but fear can be a little bit like a monster. It can really prevent us from making progress in our lives or taking chances but it reminds me a little bit of the monster under the bed when you're a child. It seems like this huge, scary end of the world situation kind of a thing when really it's just in our own heads. I interviewed multiple creatives from various backgrounds, various levels of experience before putting together this class. The question that I asked them was, is there anything that held you back from pursuing creativity more fully? Almost everyone said fear. Now there are different kinds of fear. There's fear of what other people might think. There's fear of wasting your time or energy on something that you might not like but the biggest fear that people had was fear of failure. I want you to get up this worksheet and I want you to answer the first question. The first question is, what does failure look like to me? A lot of people are afraid to fail but what does that mean when you think about your specific creative goal, what would it mean to fail at it? Then once you think about that for a while, I want you to think about why is this fear holding me back? I think a lot of times it has to do with other people. I think sometimes it's not necessarily that we're afraid that we're going to try something and we're not going to like it or we are going to try something not be good at it. I think it's that we're going to try something and other people are going to think that we're not good at it or that we're going to really enjoy it and no one else is going to want to buy it. So it really a lot of times comes down to feeling like we need other people to validate our worth. If it's not validated by other people then it's not worth it for us to spend time on. I want you to think about that. Then the next question on your worksheet is, which will have a more negative result, trying and failing or not trying at all? When you think about what failure means, what it would mean to fail, I feel like a lot of times the result failure is just not working out or you not getting a lot of likes or you not getting a lot of clients. But what's the result of not trying, not getting any clients, not getting anyone to like what you're putting on the Internet or not getting positive feedback from your friends and family? Those are the same results as not trying. But you're never going to get positive results if you don't start. I want you to think about that and I want you to make some notes underneath that question. So really think about whether your fear is worth all of the anxiety. Think about, if you were to try and fail would it really be that bad? Is it really worse than not giving it a try at all and possibly succeeding more than you think? Another thing to think about is how to reframe what success means to you? Because if your success is dependent on other people, it can be really scary and you might feel like you're going to fail but if you reframe what success means to you, then it takes the fear out of it. For example, say your goal is to start an Etsy shop and sell art prints. It takes a lot of work and a lot of time to learn the skills that are necessary to make art prints, to be able to make art that you are proud to share, to learn how to produce it, learn how to start a shop, learn how to market it. You have to drive traffic to the shop. It takes time for something like that to grow. You can easily get discouraged in the beginning when maybe you don't get as much feedback as you want but if you reframe that goal with, I want to start an Etsy shop because I want to learn how to make art prints and I want to overcome my fears and put my artwork out into the world. Now, you've taken control of your goal and it's not dependent on other people. If you put in the hard work necessary, learn the things that you need to overcome your fear of sharing your artwork and start an Etsy shop, you've already succeeded. If you sell things, awesome, but if not, you have the self-gratification of knowing that you did your best and that you overcame your fears and you took a creative leap, and that's awesome. I want you to think about what your creative goal is, what your pursuit is and think about how you can reframe that to be focused on your own self-worth and your own goals and values and what success means to you and try to reframe it to take other people out of it so that your success is not dependent on the feedback that you receive. Think about how you can apply that to your own situation. Then the last thing, the last question on this worksheet for one thing that you need to fill out is, what's the one thing I can do today to get started even though I'm afraid? What's one thing that you can do today to start or to continue? It might be getting domain name for your business. It might be taking half an hour to practice, whatever your skill is. I want you to think of one thing you can do right now or maybe even this week and then do it. You can't just write it down. You have to actually do it and then share with us that in your project. In your project for this class, you can share what your fear is and you can also share what the thing is that you're going to do right now or today or this week to start overcoming it. All right, go ahead. 4. Create a Support System: The next step is to build a community. You need support. No one can do this on their own. There are going to be times when you will feel overwhelmed and discouraged and not know what to do next. Another thing that I asked a lot of other creatives was about their support system. It seemed like if you had a good support system, it made a huge difference, and if you lack the support you needed, it also made a huge difference and in a negative way. We really need to take action for ourselves to build the support system that we need. That takes a little bit of work, but it's so worth it. If you take a look at your next worksheet, there's three kinds of support that we need. The first kind is personal support. I want you to think of someone in your life that knows you really well. They know when you're getting to your wits end. This might be your maid, it might be a family member, it might be a close friend, but someone that you can really confide in and someone that can support you when you're feeling overwhelmed or when you doubt yourself. That's super important. But the next kind of support person that we need is a mentor. Now this can be someone in real life or it can be someone that we know online. It can be someone that we reach out to personally, or it can just be someone that we look to for inspiration. I want you to think about the creative pursuit that you're thinking about. It might be calligraphy. I'm a little passion to calligraphy because that's what I do. It might be photography, it might be anything else, whatever it is. I want you to think of someone in your industry that you can reach out to if you have questions. Now I want you to be careful with this part because I think sometimes we can naturally jump to the biggest expert that we can think of that we want to learn from, which is awesome. But a lot of times they might not necessarily have the time for a one-on-one attention. Rather, I want you to think of someone in your industry that's a couple of steps ahead of you, but on the same journey. You might need to search Instagram a little bit. But I want you to find someone who's already succeeded in the next step or the next two steps in your process, that you can reach out to for a little bit of help if you need direction on the next thing to do, or if you have a specific question about your skill set. Find a few people like that that you can reach out to. Maybe send them an email, maybe send them a message on Instagram with a question. Try to keep it personal. Don't just leave a comment on Instagram because a lot of people have a hard time keeping up with that kind of a thing. Maybe write them an email, ask a question, ask if they'd be willing to give you a little bit of help. People can be a lot more friendly and helpful than we give them credit for. I also recommend reaching out to maybe five different people because not everyone will have the time to respond. That way, you're more likely to get the feedback that you need. The other thing that we need is peers. This is something that can be a challenge when we're self-taught because we don't have a classroom environment, and we don't have built-in peers that we can grow with. You need to find a group of people that are on the same path as you and that are at about the same point in that road. Let's take a calligraphy as an example. On Instagram, there's an ton of people doing calligraphy. Follow some people that you feel are at the same level as you. Maybe you're just starting out. Maybe you're learning copperplate calligraphy and you're working on your capital letters, and you find a few other people that are working on the same things, follow those people. Give them feedback. Give them encouragement. They'll likely do the same. Then you can grow together and there might be questions that you come up with that they have answers to or vice versa because you're both on the same road. That way you don't feel alone. Maybe you have a problem or a frustration that you share with them and they've dealt with the same thing or have the same question. Then you don't feel so isolated even though you're self-taught. You're really growing with a community of people. We can start with this right now. I want you to go on the Instagram and search the hashtag self-made creative. This is an Instagram account that I created myself for students in this class specifically. It's a fairly new account right now. I'm hoping it'll grow over time. But I'd love for you to join the community there. Use the hashtag self-made creative to share what you're working on and your creative process. You can connect with other people as well. Start following other people. Maybe they're not on the same creative journey as you but you still find it inspiring, the obstacles that they're overcoming. We're also going to have a private Facebook group for this class. You can join that group and ask questions there, get feedback on different projects and things. But I want you to start right away. Another thing is to use the project board and the discussion board in this class. If you have a question, ask it on the discussion board. Either I'll answer it or one of the other students will answer it, and update your project, connect with other people, leave other people comments on their project and start growing that community of support. 5. Class Project: We've come to the last video in this class. I hope that the content so far has been useful to you and that you're building a system that will help you to continue to make progress with your creative pursuit. The last step is to fill out the Self-Made Creative Statement. It last page in the worksheet attached to this class. You're going to fill out what it is that you want to do. You're going to answer "I will not let fear of blank." You're not going to allow fear of blank to hold you back from, and then whatever your next step is. You are going to decide if you become paralyzed by fear, what something that you can remember to try to get yourself out of that mind frame. You are going to decide if you're overwhelmed, who you're going to turn to. If you need help with something specific, who can you turn to? What's your next step? Maybe your next step is taking 10 minutes out of your morning routine to sketch instead of scrolling Instagram, that you start your day out doing something creative. Maybe your next step is to take one Saturday morning every month to practice your craft. Maybe your next step is to start a separate Instagram account for whatever your skill is and start sharing your work. Whatever it is, I want you to write it down and I want you to share it in your class project. Extra credit point, if you share your Self-Made Creative Statement, even just the first part, "I want to blank." Share that on Instagram, use the hashtag self-made creative, and we can all connect and interact that way. I hope this class has been helpful. If you have any questions, please leave a question for me on the discussion board and I'll be sure to answer it as soon as I can. Maybe you can get some help from other creatives in this class that way. I'm really excited to see what you do and how this class benefits you, and I'd love to hear feedback from you. If you did find this class helpful, go ahead and leave a review on Skillshare, and I'll see you in my next class.