I want to sing and dance and play ukulele and draw and write and make people laugh and it’s all been done! It seems like every time I’m grooving to a song and think maybe I could video myself singing it and upload it to youtube, someone else has already done that, gotten a million views, and been invited to perform on The Ellen Degeneres Show. I’m not the first person to say it, but the prevalence of talent out there in the tubes can be intimidating to those of us who are introspective and may have self-esteem deficiencies.
It’s not new to the internet, of course. Even when I was a kid and would think of a story I’d want to tell, I’d often discover there was already a book written about it. Usually, those authors did a better job telling the tale than I could and it was a bit discouraging. Sure, now I realize it was unrealistic to compare my pre-teen self to writers with decades more experience, but I still did it.
For a while, I was able to take solace in being better than my peers. All the way through high-school, I found that if I put my mind to it, I could achieve more impressive results than the other students. I could write better, create better drawings and paintings, sing better, act better. School subjects were the same for me; I might not have been perfect but I was better than everyone else. What a jackass I was. (I’m a different sort of jackass now.)
Of course, the situation we see now is different from those halcyon days of my utter supremacy in one significant regard: Now, everybody in the world is theoretically one click away from pwning me. I might still be better than most of my high-school graduating class of 333-ish peers (Okay, Sulynn is doing better than I am, but I bet I can dance circles around her), but there’s no way I’m better than 6 billion people at everything. Heck, the odds are against me being better than all of them at any one thing!
This may be inaccurate but it’s MY blog!
I realize that not everybody is on the internet, but I’m making a point here.
So, if everything I can think to do has been done before, by The Simpsons, or South Park, or Joss Whedon, or Ray Bradbury, or some damned twelve-year-old with a MacBook, why should I do anything?
Seriously. Damned twelve-year-olds.
First of all, I’m not the first of all. I have no doubt in my mind that Einstein occasionally postulated something and wondered if somebody else had already stated it better; that The Beatles occasionally doubted the quality of one of their songs (especially rated against Jesus); that Frankie Manning once in a while ended a dance and thought he hadn’t done as well as a peer; that Douglas Adams wrote a chapter and thought it was derivative. Those are all greats in their fields and there have been countless other creative thinkers before them. There have been countless others who wondered whether they were seeing farther perched on the shoulders of those who have come before or are just seeing the same darned thing.
Second of all, why does my creative output have to be better than all others? Even if I could write the best blog post ever in the history of blogging (so…in thirteen years…) that wouldn’t mean that there couldn’t exist another of equal quality. That is to say, being the best isn’t a position exclusive to one person. And if this drivel is better than millions of other blog posts or only better than the ones containing atrocious spelling and grammar (I’ll always have that victory!), what does it matter? It’s not like I’m going to get a cash reward for most awesome self-involved opinion article, digital edition. Although, I would certainly take one. Just saying.
What I’m forcing myself to accept, because I truly don’t accept it easily, is that I can share my creative efforts with my friends and the internet-at-large even if I’m not the best. Even if I’m no Pomplamoose, I can post a video of myself playing uke badly and singing only decently. I’ll try really hard to stare at the camera, though, because I’ve learned from their videos. Even if my writing doesn’t make the best sense or flow like a clear Disney movie river, that shouldn’t stop me from publishing it.
I’ll never stare as well as Nataly Dawn.
My goal should be to create a thing, stop at some point, look at that thing and like it. And then I can share it with the world so that maybe others can like it, too. If I don’t like it so much, I can try again. I don’t have to be the best thing ever to share my creativity. I’ll probably still try to be the best, though.
Yeah, that all sounds about right. Publish!