Creativity & FOMO

Everyone has heard of creativity, but not everyone has heard of FOMO. FOMO is the abbreviation of the "fear of missing out." It is defined as anxiety that an exciting or interesting thing may be happening somewhere else. This anxiety can be brought on by the social media posts of friends, acquaintances, and even people we don't know showing photos of all kinds of things we may wish we were doing.

Not everyone may be familiar with the term FOMO, but it is likely that most everyone can relate to the experience, at least from time to time, of the "fear of missing out." It's likely that, even those who have never heard of FOMO, may have that feeling occur a lot more than just from time to time.

Because FOMO anxiety is currently so pervasive in our culture, as soon as I began thinking about creativity and fear, FOMO is what came to mind. I imagine the reason for this is because when I think of creativity, I naturally think of my work as a writer. This work requires me to spend many, many hours alone. In order to spend all those necessary hours alone, I must be willing to face FOMO head on. The fact is, while I am working on a book, I am missing a lot of things - movies I want to see, outings I might want to go on, trips to the mall to shop and have lunch, or even books I might want to read. But the reality is, if I'm not willing to miss out on some of those things, I will miss out on cultivating my creativity. I will miss out on crafting that story about the characters who are running around in my head. And ultimately, I will miss out on finishing the manuscript that will one day be a book in the hands of middle grade readers.

So, do I have the fear of missing out? Sure. And many times, I choose to not miss out. I leave my office, even when I really should be working, to participate in something that I deem too-important-to-miss. But I know, as I work on a project, that being willing to miss some things along the way will be well worth it. Engaging in my creative work allows me to experience something interesting and exciting right at the desk in my office, and the fear of missing that keeps me at work behind the keyboard, keeping the creative juices flowing while I write my next middle grade book.

Happy Reading & Writing
Nancy J. Cavanaugh


  1. This is so interesting! And it is true--creative pursuits are so time consuming. (But in the end, maybe that's part of what makes them so rewarding!)

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