“We are all peers in the human experience.” – Maru Iabichela
We’re all made of the same basic building blocks. We all eat, drink, work, sleep…lather, rinse, repeat every 24 hours. The Constitution even confirms that we’re all created equal.
But somehow, we just don’t get that “all” includes us, too.
She sings like an angel. I sound like a cat being attacked by a lawn mower.
He’s written five bestselling novels and he’s only twenty-six. I’m um…not twenty-six and have barely finished one book that approximately nine people know about.
The entire planet follows them on social media. My dog follows me to the kitchen.
So, why do we habitually catapult those we admire to godlike status, while relegating ourselves to watching silently from the cheap seats?
I think it’s because we forget (or at least I do) that those who have attained stratospheric success are there for inspiration…not imitation.
In the midst of flailing about writing my first novel (which is now thankfully in the hands of some amazing beta readers as I write this), one of my favorite – and futile – things to do was to look at famous authors and note all the ways that I wasn’t following in their esteemed footsteps.
I don’t write long tomes (my head explodes when I think of Ayn Rand spinning out 1000+ pages for Atlas Shrugged).
I’m big on dialogue and nearly non-existent when it comes to description (welcome to the side effect of 25+ years of screenwriting).
And I’m completely missing the “vampires and wizards obsession” chip (somehow I doubt that Anne Rice and J.K. Rowling are losing any sleep over this, since I am one of approximately 15 people worldwide who feel this way).
But the further along I get in my own work, the more I realize that even if I wanted to imitate the aforementioned greats…it’s just not gonna happen.
And it shouldn’t.
Mark Twain said, “Comparison is the death of joy.” And he’s right.
Because there is nothing that sucks the beauty and fun out of creation like wallowing in angst because you don’t paint like Cezanne, sing like Adele or write brilliant prose about blood-sucking creatures of the night or magical adolescents who fly around on broomsticks.
You weren’t put here to be a half-assed copy of someone else. Respect the talented masters that you admire, but don’t revere them. They are just like you, except they’re doing the one thing you might be avoiding:
Being 100% true to who they were created to be.
So, take them off the pedestal. Or better yet, climb up there with them.
There’s more room at the top than you think.
Great piece and every single word of it true. Who hasn’t thought those things…especially in today’s sound byte culture?
Good luck with your novel. Enjoy the process.
Thanks so much for the kind words, Howard! I am doing my best to enjoy the process with the novel, and I’m looking forward to publishing it soon. 🙂 I love your blog, and can’t wait to see your books out in the world, too!
YES!! The top is a lot more empty than most people realize. Which means there’s plenty of room for more people!
I’m with you, Jen! We’ve been conditioned to believe there’s only X number of people that can be stars. But like you said, there is always room for more at the top, and your “Dream Life or Bust” movement is teaching people the truth of that! 🙂
So tough to even get close to the pedestals base. There is a way to reach the top. Throw books at those peaking down from the edge. Keep writing your wonderful prose. ❤️…Dick Dahlgren.
Thanks, Dick! I will keep writing and “throwing those books”…lol! 🙂 You’re quite a few novels ahead of me, so I gotta catch up!
Better yet…throw words at the,…not just books…❤️.
Great advice as usual! And I don’t think you can have too much dialogue – most novels don’t have enough…
Thanks so much, Elaine! And it’s good to know I’m not the only one who loves lots of good dialogue in books… 🙂