This is a hard one to get over, and it isn’t an easy or permanent fix. I sat down to work on a sample for a journaling class, and was frightened it wouldn’t be “good enough” or “right.” Add in the fact that I am to present this to a shop owner this week to pitch an in-person class, and yeah, I was a bit scared!
I think creating with an image in mind is a good thing — it’s a goal you’re working toward, a clear end-point to your exploration. The thing is, we often see this as a rigid must, that is, any deviation from this vision is an translation error, a fault of our talent.
One thing you can do is purposely make a mistake. That throws the whole thing into a new vein right off the bat, and may prompt a new idea. We need to create with a certain degree of flexibility; let things emerge as they will. Trying to stick to an initial vision will only frustrate you, as I’m sure you’ve discovered.
Another thing that helps is using less-expensive materials. I remember working in my first journal made with the oft-referred to hot press watercolor paper, and being intimidated because it cost so much money — I didn’t want to “waste” it. The same goes for paints, canvases, paper, journals, etc. Try grabbing things on sale or finding less-expensive alternatives so if you do mess up, it’s no big deal. You can just start again.
Try putting on some tunes and going with the music. Use large gestures. Scratch things out. Be unpredictable. Stop looking at things online and comparing yourself to what’s already been done by others.
It’s hard, I know. But you’re showing up, and that’s the hardest part. The rest is just gravy.
Hope this helped!