Years back I ran into a friend who is a poet. I asked her, "so how's your poetry going?" what have you written lately?” She said "I haven't been writing, everybody's writing poetry these days, you see it all over Facebook and Instagram, I really have nothing new to add."
This got me thinking. Sometimes we have ideas but we tell ourselves, “nah, this one has been done before”, or “so and so is doing or talking about the same thing.”
What we don’t understand is that we have to say that same thing through our own voice, we have to make the thing in our own way, through our own experience, that’s what makes it unique and different. This very thing that I am saying has indeed been said before. I am just saying it again, in my own way.
Listen friends, some of us are so concerned with creating something so original that it paralyzes us and we end up not producing anything at all! I’ve been there with my sewing, with my writing, and even with my visual art making. I want to create the next big, innovative thing and it’s overwhelming, stopping me in my tracks, and I end up not making anything at all.
But I venture to say that the fact that YOU are doing it makes it original and unique. Everybody is sewing and refashioning these days too, but I am making stuff out of my own uniqueness and personal context, the next artist is doing the same thing. In my two years of teaching the NYC Craft Entrepreneurship course I have been asked, “there are so many jewelry makers on Etsy, why would anyone else join those large numbers and expect to sell? Because there is enough room for everyone. Because people care about your story. Because you are making something from your own hands, YOUR hands, no one else can do that, or take that away from you. No one else can be you.
So, please, share your gift. Don’t hold back. If it’s something that has been done or said before, it has not been said or done by you…yet. Do what you have never done before, that's what makes it good, unique authentic work!