Write like no one is reading: “Making Comparisons”

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Backstory:  Recently, I began to think about the traits necessary to keep painting when feeling lethargic about exploring my creative side.  Coincidentally, I’d read an article about the importance of writing, if not for others, than for yourself.  The phrase “dance like no one is watching” popped into my head and I decided to write a blog series exploring 10 traits that I’d identified and to put this into practice…write as if no one is reading.  I find that it’s easy to feel trapped by thinking about other’s opinions more than recognizing my own wishes.  My guess is that others may do the same.  Maybe writing with the idea that no one will read my blog will be “freeing”?  Today’s trait is #8 out of 10.

Don’t compare yourself: Today’s topic is probably a subject most people can relate to…comparing oneself to others.  Of course, I could share advice saying “don’t do this”….however that would be a bit hypocritical since I truthfully can’t say I always follow this.  It’s not unusual, of course, to compare yourself to others.  I find myself doing this more than I care to admit.  Whether it be outward appearances or less superficial factors there are times I find myself falling victim to comparisons. However, I often discover that appearances do not even begin to tell a person’s true story.  The struggles each person carries within them are often difficult despite the otherwise outward appearance of “having it all together”. No doubt you may have noticed this too.

Not only in my day to day life do I occasionally compare myself to others, I find myself doing this with my art as well.  It’s easy to not only fall into the trap of comparing my artwork to another’s artwork, but another artist’s success too. First of all…I believe it’s important to explore other’s artwork, their creative process and techniques and their career path…I often find this inspirational in an uplifting way. Often times, there are lessons to be learned, new techniques to try and another artist’s tenacity to admire.  When I see an artist’s announcements of upcoming events/shows/exhibits, etc.., it could be easy to feel a pang of jealousy. However, the truth of it is…is that that person took the time to submit their work to take a chance on either being selected or not. It meant that he/she was prepared by having a collection of work to submit and the commitment required to complete the often-tedious “Artist Calls” applications. I find that it’s important to remember that each person’s creative efforts are uniquely qualified to themselves…which is what makes each artist uniquely qualified for opportunities that come their way. Maybe even their finest hour!

I believe it’s important to just admit that the comparisons are inevitable.  Just chalk it up to “being human”.  However, I think it’s also important to use those comparisons for your own benefit (be inspired).  Keep in mind that appearances never completely tell the entire story and superficial comparisons aren’t ever productive…


Next up on my list of important traits:  Appreciating others…

~Dawn Winter

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