Truly great creative works are, of course, something of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they’re usually the things that inspire you to make art, write and/or make comics. But, on the other hand, it can be very easy to feel “not good enough” if you compare the things you create to them.
In this article, I’ll be talking about this “not good enough” feeling, and how to deal with it.
1) Difference: The first thing to remember about great creative works is that they will always be different to what you create. Part of what makes them so amazing is the fact that they are so refreshingly different to the majority of other things you’ve seen.
It’s that feeling of “Yes! Someone actually made something like this!“. It’s the fact that they seem to come from a different time, place, context and/or imagination from yours. The difference is what makes them seem so amazing.
In other words, you’ll never be able to be the same person as the person who made the great work you are comparing yourself to. And that’s ok. In fact, it’s a good thing. Imagine how boring the world would be if everyone’s imaginations, personalities and worldviews were the same.
In short, it’s all a matter of perspective. Your own imagination might seem boringly ordinary to you, but it’ll seem intriguingly different to someone somewhere.
2) Mystique: It can be very easy to be fascinated by the mystique surrounding a great creative work and to romanticise the way that it was created or the time it was created in. It can be easy to think that the people who were making it knew that they were making something truly great, and that the creative process was some magical thing that you’d give anything to experience yourself.
Chances are, it wasn’t. Chances are, it was exactly the same ordinary mundane experience of writing, drawing etc… that you experience on a regular basis. There were probably uninspired days, technical issues, worries, boredom, self-doubt and all of the things that you’ve possibly experienced when creating something.
Chances are, the time or place that the great work was made in wasn’t some rose-tinted utopia or “better time” either. At the time the work was being made, the person who made it probably just saw it as boringly, drearily “ordinary”. Just like the time and place you are in now.
3) Everyone feels it: Even the people who make creative works that seem indescribably good probably feel like their works pale in comparison to the things that really fascinate and inspire them. Why? Because aiming to make something that is even a fraction as good as your favourite things is one of the best and most common sources of creative motivation in existence.
In other words, the creative works that you are idolising as perfect things that you “could never hope to make something as good as” were probably made by someone who wished that they were even a fraction as good as the people they admired.
In other words, feeling inadequate in comparison to a great creative work is a good thing. It means that you are a creative person. It also means that you have something in common with the person who created the great work that you are standing in awe of.
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂