Comparing ourselves to other people is something that we will likely always do from time to time, because to an extent, that’s how we learn. It’s how we learn social norms and values, it’s even how we get to know ourselves to some degree.
When you’re a creative- this is escalated, because your work is like your life. Your work is something that’s true to you that you care about, it’s where your passion lies. What you create is a piece of you that you give to the world and finding yourself in awe of another creator’s work is sometimes more demotivating than it is inspiring. There’s no shame in admitting that. There are moments where we may have such an appreciation for somebody else’s creation that you feel as though what you give to the world is somewhat inadequate, like you’re not enough.
It’s likely that you’re harsher on your own work because it’s so familiar to you. Nobody wakes up every day and thinks that they’re particularly special, that they’re so fascinating and the thoughts running through their head are worth other people’s time of day. For me, it’s usually only through conversation with other people that I decide something is worth blogging about.
A lot of the time I will be in discussion with someone and I’ll express my way of seeing things, and they will genuinely be interested. My perception is something that they wouldn’t have considered before. First of all, the fact that someone even pays attention is cool to me, but the way that they respond and the way they’re interested- the idea that I have changed their way of seeing things even for a brief moment is really cool. Everyone has potential to do that, but I just get a real good feeling from it.
When you create a lot, at first you will get a lot of flattery because this is all new. Then, it will become normal that you create, so the flattery will end and the inspiration may ground to a halt. Then, you may be tested, looking at other people’s work and pressuring yourself to be a match to them- or even supersede them.
That’s when writers block happens. It discourages you and stops you from seeing magic and wonder in the mundane, the flow of ideas will be halted by cynical, self-deprecating thought, and all of a sudden everything is a bit shit. You just need to do something and get your mojo back. Maybe you have to sink to the bottom to be able to work your way up again, or maybe you just need to break out of your version of ‘normal’ for a little bit.
Someone I’ve been reading up on lately, David Goggins, has a really interesting take on this. He says that this generation were raised by being encouraged rather than kicked down, which obviously is not a bad thing- it’s like the best way of parenting. With that said, those who have had to struggle with little pay off tend to go further because they are less inclined to give up.
When you grow with your motivation being praise and compliments, you are dependent on other people for that sense of drive.
We go to school and for as long as we do as we’re told we’re a star. There is little room for imagination. You’re taught to stop listening to that little voice within.
When you create, to keep that motivation and fire you have to listen to the voice within you before you even care about what anybody else says.
You create to give to the world, but most of all you create because if you didn’t- you wouldn’t be satisfied.
Margaret Atwood, a famous novelist, mentioned in a course that “if you’re not writing you’re afraid of something. What are you afraid of?”. It often takes a break, an expedition out of your comfort zone or the interest of a new topic that gets you wanting to create again, there’s no way you can stick to the same roots forever.