Stop comparing your beautiful self to anybody else.
Art is not a competition.
This conversation pertains to writing, but I think it applies to any expression of the soul. What you write, paint, sing, perform, it is about you and only you.
Do audiences exist? Absolutely. So do friends, families, editors, publishers. Of course people will read your work if you put it out into the universe. Of course they will make judgments. After all, everyone has an opinion.
And that’s just it. Everyone has an opinion.
It’s a truth that makes everyone as special as it makes them ordinary. All of us have a unique perspective based on our unique attributes and set of circumstances. There is no one on this entire planet like you. Not your friends, not your family, not your soulmate. Nobody.
Which means that nobody will ever tell a story quite like you can tell it.
In this huge rat-race that is life, the only one you can be truly measured against is yourself. No one is your exact age, with your exact memories, with your exact traits, with the exact same life as you. Not even twins. Sure there’ll be similarities, people you look up to, people that look up to you. There will be people in your genre, or your city. People in your writing group. There might be people pulling from the exact same references, or the exact same subject matter. That doesn’t mean they are going to tell that story anything like the way you would tell it, because you are hard-wired to think and perceive differently than them.
And you shouldn’t try to think like them. Authentic art has the ability to feel both powerfully familiar and new and exciting all at once. It has that “it factor” that goes straight to your soul, a “something special” that everyone can immediately recognize. Think of your favorite movie, your favorite song, book, artist, dancer. Think of that band you can’t stop listening to, or that show you’ve watched a thousand times but keep coming back to. Art is at its most powerful when it reveals our soul, when it is laced with our undeniable identity. This doesn’t mean you can only write autobiographies. It means to write what is important to you.
So what is it that matters most to you? What is it that you want to communicate? Thoughts? Feelings? Worlds? Do you want to experience fantastical lands? Escape into the distant reaches of space? Do you want to bask in the beauty of love? Unravel tantalizing mysteries? Explore the dark side of humanity? Dive into the strange seas of the supernatural? Maybe you just love scaring people. Maybe you love making them laugh. Maybe you love all of those or none of those. Maybe it changes by the day, the time, the weather.
Whatever draws you into the creative world, use it.
Every time you write you get a little better. Every time you use your imagination it gets a little easier. Every time you bare your soul your work shines a little brighter. It is a process, it doesn’t happen all at once. Everyone, from the newest writer to the most venerable veteran, has to put in their blood, sweat, and tears.
And there will be tears. Writing isn’t always sunshine and daisies. There will be times when you will want to shut the laptop, rip up the notebook, snap the pen in half. “Something isn’t working, it isn’t going right, I’m never going to make it, why even bother.”
Use those feelings.
Use those thoughts.
Use your imagination, your experiences, your dreams, your nightmares. Put your soul onto that sheet, that screen, that stage. Let your subconscious leak all over the page. Let your weird, wild, amazing self out of its cage. Write things that you love, that you hate, that nag at the inside of your skull and won’t let you wait. Write everything, all of it, every last little bit that crosses your mind.
Art is expression.