I’m afraid of commitment.

No, not the marital kind of commitment – I’ve been happily married to my husband for over two years and it was not at all difficult to say yes to this one. In fact, I think I’ll keep him. I’m talking about the “I’m going to call myself something and that means that I have to actually BE what I’m calling myself” kind of commitment.

This year is going to be big – an upcoming move this summer (we know when but not where) means leaving my job of just about five years in TV production and wandering out into the job market. I’ve made the decision that I want to work towards working for myself, and that means a host of things is in order. First of all, I need to call myself something – a producer, a videographer, a filmmaker? Of course, when you call yourself something, people actually expect you to BE that, right? If you’re an honest individual, which I like to think I am. I have a degree in TV and film, I have five years of experience in the field – and yet committing to calling myself a producer or a filmmaker has been a tremendous difficulty. Because then I have to produce, and because I have experience, I feel like my work should be awesome right away!

But I still feel that I’m at the beginning of this journey. I can say that I’m a post-production ninja, because that’s where I’ve been doing my thing these last couple years – but to follow the whole process (from planning to preproduction to production into post) is my dream, but definitely not my comfort zone. And although I’ve definitely been working these last five years, they’re not the kind of projects I’m going to be sticking into my portfolio. That means starting from scratch.

For a long time, I struggled with calling myself creative. I am one of those weird ones that liked math and art class, but I was quantitatively better with numbers. I thought, for a long time, that you couldn’t claim to be both right and left brained – it was like back in middle school when you could like the Backstreet Boys OR N*Sync, but in no way could you like both. So only in the last few years have I really come to terms with the fact that I tremendously enjoy creating, and that being creative doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive with being analytical. People are more like grayscales than black & white copies. Finally, if you asked me, I would be able to tell you that I’m creative, and actually believe it.

I love hobbies, because if you do something as a hobby, there’s no pressure to be serious, or seriously good. If I dabble in painting, or songwriting (both of which I do) but I’m not trying to make money, just have a bit of fun, there’s no pressure to produce or to perform. If I say, I’m a painter (which I’m not) and you should buy my paintings, suddenly, people are looking for regular output, and regularly good output. So it’s much easier to put off saying, I’m a producer, because then I’ll actually have to produce. And I’ll want people to like it.

Naming a business seems harder than naming a child, because you don’t have to sell your kid to the world, you just have to pick something that hopefully won’t get him teased too much on the playground. On the other hand, you’re trying to sell a business – you want people to like it and jump on board. Oh, commitment. I finally reached the place earlier this month, that I would need to start making decisions – regardless of the uncertainty – because my fear was stalling any kind of forward progress. For me, it came down to the name, because everything else stemmed from that.

I was hoping by this point I would have conquered my fear, named my business, and had some awesome coming soon page to send you to, but I’m not there yet. The decision, I’ve determined, WILL happen this week. So I’m still figuring this out, and I’m still at the beginning. At least I’ve committed to beginning. And that counts for something, right?

Annabelle currently works as a television editor, and writes about travel & creativity over on her blog. Later this year, she’ll be launching her soon-to-be-named business, producing beautifully curated videography for creative adventurers and entrepreneurs.

Fear Confessions is a series of essays by creatives who share personal stories about facing their fears. It’s a celebration of vulnerability.

Also follow Annabelle on Twitter.

  1. I totally get it – fear is PARALYZING! But don’t put so much pressure on your name. Think of it less as what you are selling to people and more about WHY you are creating this business in the first place and let it be born out of that.

    • So true, Morgan. I guess I was waiting for that big epiphany, no-more-doubt moment, but once I actually settled on something despite the doubts, it was actually pretty peaceful and liberating! :) Thanks for the encouragement!!

      -Annabelle

  2. Great advice, Morgan! The “why” is definitely more important than the “how” or “what.”