Hey there. You. Human. Or thing that vaguely resembles human so I let you share my space without hosing down your facemeat with acid. I want to talk to you about something unfortunate. The I word. Yeah, you know the one. Inferiority. That fanged beastbitch that wants to sink its claws into your self-worth and shred at it until there’s nothing left but a twitching pile of pink viscera.
Fact: you, human, are one day going to want to create something great. That something is going to require cosmic buttloads of work. It’s going to take tears, sweat, and maybe a few archaic rituals to get off the ground. It’ll keep you up at night. It’ll supersede basic functions like showering and eating. It’ll be the thing you talk about to anyone and everyone who will listen to you (until their eyes glaze over with The Sad and your tongue grows wilty in your mouth.) It’ll require alcohol fuel and maybe sniffing a few lines of pixie dust off a goblin’s butt to complete.
I’m talking art, son. Birthing ether and whimsy from your quivering creative loins.
You’ll suffer for this baby. You’ll bleed for it, and sometimes, you’ll convince yourself it’s worth the little piece of soul you paid in tithe. But the ugly reality is more often than not, it’ll drain you. Despite wrestling monsters, toppling gods, and bargaining with the devil himself to get it done, AT SOME POINT you’re going to feel absolutely cruddy about what you’ve wrought. Because that’s what inferiority does. It gives you ten whole minutes of satisfaction before it slithers into your peripheral vision. It whispers in your ear. It tells you that all that toil was for nothing because what you thought was gilded perfection? Is actually a cowpie covered in glitter.
You’ll look at what you’ve made and then you’ll look at the world around you and see everyone else who did what you did only better. You’ll see art that’s a little more polished. You’ll see books with superior stories. You’ll see glimmering reviews with another author’s name on them. There will be awards that don’t include you, and sales numbers that beat yours. Every little thing you encounter as it pertains to art will serve as another reminder of how LACKING you really are.
It’s gutting, that feeling that you just aren’t up to snuff. That you don’t belong with the Illuminati of artly perfection. Your confidence falters, your self-worth plummets, and you want to throw that once-precious project to the wolves and watch them gnaw on it with their gnashy teeth.
Here’s the thing, human: inferiority lies.
Every artist, even the ones you put on pedestals, felt as you feel during their journeys. Every creator fears for the longevity of their brain child. We are all scared. We are all cut to the quick and hemorrhaging hope. We all falter beneath the weight of our insecurities.
So what does this mean?
If you accept that self-doubt is universal (and it is) and that all art is despised by its master at some point (and it is) then either the perceptions of all artists are off (they are) OR every artist is correct and we’re all terrible (we aren’t.)
Get what I’m saying here?
Inferiority’s an ugly part of the artist’s life but it doesn’t have to be a ruling part.
Keep creating. The only failed art is the art you won’t let yourself make in the first place.