Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever medium you use — whether it be music, paint, the written word, the spoken word, or simply your own way of living — YOU, my friend, are a brave, brave soul. You are doing something not just anyone has the guts to do. And I don’t know exactly why, but I felt the need to encourage you today.
You are being vulnerable. You are putting sound in the air and words on a page and paint on a canvas. You are bringing something unique to the planet — unique because no matter how hard you try to imitate others, it will always have a bit of you in it. You can’t escape that.
You will make so many mistakes. You’re going to suck. Your voice will crack. You’ll break a few strings or get paint on your favorite shirt. One day you’ll stare at a Word document and realize all 50,000 words of that NaNoWriMo novel are going to have to be scrapped — may or may not be speaking from experience there, ahem.
Because, dear creative, you are a work of art. You are a unique concept. You are an original. You are priceless. Art is vulnerability because art is sharing what is genuine and true about yourself.
Art is not about being perfect. Art is not about doing it right the first time. It’s not about doing it right ever. It’s about doing it the way that feels genuine to you.
And if the sound of that makes you feel uncomfortable, well, you have two options. Either you can keep going and embrace all the awkwardness and mistakes and vulnerability, or, you can turn back now and save yourself the trouble. I’ve chosen the former… though, admittedly I’ve seriously considered the latter many, many times.
This isn’t advice from someone who’s made it. This isn’t a friendly New York Times bestselling author or a gracious, accomplished painter. I’ve never wowed an audience or even, honestly, been published anywhere notable.
No, this is advice from someone who is choosing not to take those — very depressing once you write them down — facts along with all the typos and all the rejection letters and throw them into very large and deep and dark chasm and walk away from them and grab an ice cream on the way home maybe.
Because I am not the best creator, but I love creating. Accomplishment doesn’t define good art. And “bad art” does not make a person any less of an artist.
This one’s for you.
Because even if you never get good at your art, if you love it, you shouldn’t stop. Art is a joyful struggle and if you feel like giving up, you’re doing it right.
Pick up that pen, get out the instrument, just put a blank page in front of you and pour out your soul.
Because people are messy things and it is fitting that the road to being creative is a messy one. But people are beautiful things too. It’s so beautiful even that you continue to breathe and think and exist, of course it is beautiful when you decide to create.
So don’t give up just yet.
Keep making art.