Some day I’d like to make something amazing.
I enjoy seeing all of the amazing work that my friends are making. Incredible work ranging from physical items crafted by hand to brilliant bodies of photography/video work.
Then I look at what I’ve made, what I’ve shared, what I have “coming up soon for release”… and it’s just not AMAZING on that same level.
Sure, I remind myself not to compare my work to their highlight reel. But I also look at my proverbial “highlight reel” and, well, it’s very forgettable.
So, I think and plan. Searching for a thread running through things I’ve already made and how it may tie into things I’m working on currently.
I’m coming up empty, what is MY thing?
I try to envision myself in a position where something that I created inspired awe in someone else, the same way I’m being impacted by the work of my friends that I’m seeing.
It’s in those moments I understand why some artists go into hermit mode. Find solace in the solitary, seeking answers in the deepest areas of their mind and heart.
But the fact is, I can’t go FULL hermit. I enjoy the connection, even though I’m a huge introvert.
So what am I missing then?
There has to be something that I’m overlooking in this quest to find my amazing?
Maybe there is, maybe there isn’t… but, a larger concept now occupies the space.
Is it possible that we, as artists and creatives, are just incapable of noticing our own amazing when it happens?
In so many conversations with the same friends that are absolutely flooring me with their amazing work, they’ve lamented how they feel the same way. Like their work is just not as awesome as this other artist they follow.
I think that is, at least in some ways, a good thing. It can be a motivating force to keep us pushing forward and reaching for that carrot dangling in front of us. The hope that we will someday finally create our own awesome.
It’s damaging in other ways because we put so much pressure on ourselves to achieve something that might be impossible to ever reach. Essentially, it forces us to over-think and over-complicate what should be simple, pure, creativity.
But the idea that it might not be possible for any of us to actually notice when we’re already creating that amazing and awesome work is comforting.
It means I can keep confidently creating and pushing forward with the knowledge that it’s not for me, as the artist, to judge how awesome my work may or may not be for whoever is viewing it.
I still wish I could feel like I’m knocking it out of the park with awesome-sauce all over the place. I’ll still keep pushing and chasing that dream till I, hopefully, someday reach it.
But for now I’ll accept things for what they are.
Maybe we ARE incapable of noticing our own amazing. And maybe that is as it should be.
David (Usually Dave) Szweduik is a photographer, podcaster, and all around geek from the great state of Minnesota and can be found weekly on his podcast Adventures in Creativity. There you’ll find him having conversations fueled by curiosity around the amazing world of all things creativity.