I know a lot of creative types read this blog. I read so many incredible comments from artists, musicians, designers, chefs, bakers – a collective of clever, inventive and imaginative people.
There are so many of you out there that it’s inspiring – but it’s also a problem. It’s a problem because a seeming abundance of creativity everywhere you look can make you feel like you don’t stand a chance. It can make you feel like you don’t have a realistic shot of setting yourself apart in a marketplace full of people doing something along the lines of what you do.
Well I’m here to tell you that you DO stand a chance – your creative dreams are in your hands, and that it’s not as hard as you think to be a proud and strong Individual (with a capital “I”). So how do you get there when you feel like you’re sinking into the crowd?
It can feel like a very long journey to creative success
Don’t TRY to be different
You don’t need to – there’s nobody like you. People are like snowflakes – even if you think the world has seen someone just like you, or a talent just like yours before, they haven’t. You’re an individual without trying – so stop looking for that thing that sets you apart from everywhere else and just be a bigger version of the thing you already are.
Don’t ask for opinions
Every time you ask for an opinion, you’re creating a Frankenstein’s monster of creative nothing. You’re building a patchwork blanket of things other people think. It will end up terrible or bland, or both. There’s nothing wrong with collaborating, but it has to be with a purpose. If I took every article or song I wrote to committee, it wouldn’t be my own footprint. NOTHING you do will please everyone – so stop trying and start pleasing yourself first – because that’s how you’ll stand out: by trusting your own instincts.
I’m starting with the girl in the mirror
Don’t compare yourself
Comparison is the thief of joy. Comparison is the thief of joy. Comparison is the thief of joy. Repeat it like a mantra, because it’s the truth. I can make myself feel like shit in an instant by comparing myself to Beyonce when I’m a folksy coffee house singer. I could tear my hear out comparing myself to JK Rowling when I’m never going to write like her. That’s OK – I write like me. I sing like me. Every time you catch yourself comparing, remind yourself that you don’t WANT to be a carbon copy of someone else – you want to be the most amazing version of you.
Don’t try to put yourself into a category
Stop trying to fit what you do neatly into a box. We all do it – it makes us feel more comfortable, more confident, like what we’re doing has a mainstream appeal. Let go of the need to be safely in a category – do what you do and let others define it. If you try to corner yourself into one style, you’re stifling your own creativity without meaning to.
Dare to be the biggest, boldest version of yourself
It takes bravery to succeed in a creative industry – bravery and tenacity. You need the bravery to be able to go big – to accentuate the incredible in you, to hold on tight in the face of criticism and discouragement. Remember – EVERYONE who’s ever held a pen, or a paintbrush, or sung a note, or strummed on a guitar, has been subject to feedback and criticism. Take the bits that matter and discard the rest – the ones that don’t give up are the ones that get to share their gift with a big audience.
Do you ever feel like your creative talents get lost in the crowds? What do you do to pick yourself up and dust yourself off when you’re faced with rejection or find yourself comparing? I’d love to hear your thoughts.