Have you ever not done something because you’re worried that it’s already been done before? Because you’re worried that there are better [insert your creative endeavour]?
I’m a photographer, but for many years I never shared my art because I was worried that there were too many photographers out there. How many photos of the Grand Tetons do people need to see? I’m a phony to call myself a photographer because I don’t know what I’m doing. The world has been saturated with photographs because of the internet. There have been millions of photos of these flowers taken already. There are so many better photographers out there on Flickr and Instagram. I’ll never be the next Ansel Adams . My photos will never look like that. The self-limiting talk was endless.
For a while, I didn’t start this blog because I thought Brené Brown had said everything that needs to be said about imperfectionism. There were so many Elephant Journals and Tiny Buddhas and life coaches with PhDs out there that I believed that I didn’t have anything new to add to the conversation. I believed that I didn’t have the credentials to say anything meaningful.
The truth is that nothing you create will ever be completely original, and you’ll always feel like a phony sometimes. The only way that you can move beyond those thoughts is to create and to create regularly. Even then, you’ll never completely overcome them. Even the best and most successful artists struggle through these same thoughts every day. The only difference is that they continue to deliver. Like Austin Kleon says in his book Steal Like an Artist:
Writers like Brené Brown and Seth Godin have been sources of inspiration for The Imperfectionist, and as this project continues, I hope to insert more and more of my own voice and less of the ones that influence me. I draw from the photographers I meet through Flickr and Instagram regularly, and they been the single greatest influence to my growth as a photographer. I didn’t know about macro refraction or gradient filters before I studied the photographs that I loved.
For several months, I have contributed to this blog every day and I process and share a photograph daily as well. Sometimes I share them and immediately think they suck. Sometimes I wonder what the hell I’m doing, but I deliver nonetheless.
Everything originated from somewhere, and the art in the future will manifest out of what we create today. Picture any movie or novel and it will remind you (at least in some ways) of another. Some will seem like blatant copies. The difference between all of the art out there and what you will create is YOU. You have the potential, but first you have to be willing. You have to embrace the influence. You have to find your voice from the things that inspire you.