Finding Your Worth: Creative Confidence
A popularly debated topic is the question of originality and finding your own work style. In this century, we often argue that nothing is original, every idea stems from another or something else. We often see these for ourselves; how a masterpiece is somewhat similar but entirely different from another.
All ideas are recycled. Nothing is original.
The thing is, through the books I've read, the work I've done over the years, I have learned that it's not about originality. Ultimately, it boils down to building your creative confidence. By being confident about yourself and your work it lets you:
1) PUSH YOUR BOUNDARIES | 2) TEST YOUR LIMITS | 3) BELIEVE IN YOUR CAPACITY AND SKILLS
Worrying about being original and getting criticized for your work hinders you from creating amazing things; things that you should already be doing. So stop. Overcome that fear of judgment.
The only thing it does is disengage you from your authentic voice. Instead of doing so, listen to what your work is trying to tell you. More often than not, your work will speak for itself and lead you to how it wants to progress.
Emulate, Explore, Embrace
Albeit there is a huge difference between replicating other artists' works in order to learn from it from passing off the idea and work as your own. Learn the difference between inspiration, imitation, and emulation.
Inspiration is when an idea sparks your creativity and compels you to create.
Imitation is mimicking off other's works without giving much thought to it other than just copying.
Emulation is almost the same as imitation in a way that it acknowledge's the artist and becomes a stepping stone for progress.
The latter is encouraged in order to build your skills and your artistic voice, but be conscious not to be stuck in just emulating other works. Always find ways to grow. And of course, always, always make the effort to credit the artist — it's a sign of respect to them and their work.
The Aspiration Gap
All creatives and amateurs have this great expectation of their works. When they start toiling away on their masterpieces, they often find themselves failing to achieve these sort of expectations and they would then start to fill up their minds with negative thoughts and emotions about their works.
Frustrations. Doubts. Failure. (The list goes on...)
From what Ira Glass illustrated, this is called The Aspiration Gap, wherein we fall short of the expectations of our works and oftentimes give up. But you see, the key to overcoming this is simple: Keep creating. Keep moving forward. Keep practicing. Yes, you hear that a thousand times from people you admire. And let me tell you: heed their advice, because they've been through the same thing. Been there, done that.
The Key Is Creative Confidence
So to answer the burning question of the night: How do we become original? How do we find our worth, and fundamentally, our voice?
It's simple and I believe it's all about focusing on your own growth and being confident with yourself and your work. By constantly honing your skills, building your platform for expression and mastering your craft, you will eventually develop your own voice, your own aesthetic and your own style.
Never give up, even when you feel like you can't attain the kind of work you want. You'll get there. Eventually. I bet my word on that.
It's not about being original, but it's about being authentic to yourself and your works.
By focusing on yourself and your craft and shutting out opinions of others, by listening to your gut, there you will uncover your true worth.
Here are a few things you could look into for further inspiration:
Read: Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon. I'm pretty sure most of you have come across this book. So if you haven't picked it up yet, I'm telling you to do so now. As you plow through its pages, you would be creatively enlightened and inspired by its context.
Watch: How To Build Your Creative Confidence by David Kelley (I mentioned this from my latest Creative List) Download: Creative Conversations on Finding Inspiration and Discovering Your Authentic Voice