artists; we have a lot on our plates - on the daily. we're thinking about the next thing we're going to make while simultaneously working on the current thing, editing it, refining it, making it better. there's a good chance we're working a job to keep all this going - to fund our art and put sandwiches in our mouths while we do that. we're working on keeping our social media updated and nice looking. we're writing emails and planning events and answering messages and thinking of new marketing tactics.
we have a lot to think about; a lot is going on in our flippin brilliant brains.
honestly all of this, if not tended to in a self-loving way, can lead to big time burn out. feeling empty, hollow, and like you honestly have nothing left to give. like you're ready to throw in the towel but you're just getting started.it's a roller coaster - and a lot of us deal with this on the regular. so the last thing we need, on top of juggling everything else you're doing, is to be playing the comparison game.
what do I mean by that, the comparison game?
constantly holding your work up to someone else's; your writing, your songs, your paintings, photos, comics, graphic designs, etc - comparing them to someone else's to see how you measure up alongside them. and lets face it, we almost always come out on the bottom. and then we start our vicious cycles of beating ourselves up and nitpicking ourselves and ultimately losing something very important that we NEED in order to even make good art: joy. we lose the joy in our craft that we actually loved before... but now, suddenly, its sub-par. because, in our minds, its not as good as his or hers. [side note: most of the time this is a fallacy anyways... there's a good chance they look at your work and think the very same thing]
why do we do this? why do we torture ourselves?
well, first because we're artists, and we all know artists are mad to begin with. no, honestly i'm just joshing here because i don't know why exactly this is something i choose to torture, drain, and exhaust myself with on occasion. why do i have my eyes on other people's marks and not my own? i don't know. insecurities, feelings of inferiority, existential crisis's... maybe a little of each???
it's a rut. it's a rut we fall into as artists. and it's a tricky little bugger to climb out of. i'm still working on it myself, and i feel as if i have company in this place. i feel like maybe this isn't something only i wrestle with. maybe a lot of us do.
i can't tell you exactly how to get out of this whack-a-mole game of "i wish my thing was better" or "i wish my art was more like"... but i can and i will tell you what helps me sometimes... and that would be to learn to appreciate your own work.
make a list. write it out - eleven things you like about HOW YOU do what you do. how *you* uniquely execute your craft. because this is the very reason you shouldn't be comparing yourself to anyone; we all have a gift. we all have a unique voice, something new and fresh to bring to the table. your writing doesn't need to sound like anthony doerr. your photographs don't need to look like brandon woelfels. your writing should sound like yours. your photos should emulate your own vibe.
"but i'm just a noob. i want to develop my style so much more!!!!1"
and that is 200% fine. but you don't need to copy someone else in order to develop more yourself. instead, wander, explore - take a walk or meditate and see what things naturally come to your mind that inspire you. emulate those things - those are the things that light you up. you can't run off someone else's fuel; you have to find your own.
i just want to say that i speak from experience here. i spoke of a rut - well, i'm writing from the rut. i'm a perfectionist in many ways. i compare and nitpick and i play the game. but i am actively trying to stop playing it. and that's the first step.
ELEVEN THINGS I LIKE ABOUT HOW I DO MY ART:
1. i like that i don't have to think about what i write. it just happens.
2. i like that people have told me they can see my story in their head like a movie.
3. i like the way i feel when i write.
4. i like that i have created characters that i, and readers, have fallen in love with
5. i like that my writing has made my mom cry
6. i like the way i write about the places i travel to
7. i like the vibe of my photographs
8. i like the way i write kick-butt action scenes
9. and kiss scenes
10. i like that i have published a novel
11. i like my ability to think of titles
OKAY, NOW IT'S YOUR TURN. comment below and list 11 things that you personally LIKE about your art. or maybe your not an artist, but you still struggle with comparison... then just tell me 11 things you like about your flipping awesome self. :)
ALSO, Keira has a new, beautiful blog - so go check that out if ya love me. :)