I had a situation this week that made me question–at least for a few angsty moments–idazzle.com and what I do with my time. A month or two ago, I made a proposal to an organization. They must have liked my idea: they did almost exactly what I proposed, but with another blogger. This can feel a little personal; a sharp little spur, worrying under the skin.
There have been some discussions recently, online and in real life, amongst friends and colleagues who alternately lament–and applaud–this brave new era. Anyone with an internet connection and a publishing platform can say they are a writer. When everyone is a writer, it gives voice to original thoughts that might not have been heard from behind traditional gatekeepers. But when everyone is a writer, words can be cheap. Look what has happened to the magazine and newspaper industries, and how often a story is reduced to a paltry per-word transaction. When there are people willing to work for free, or swag, or products they’ve been asked to review, it’s harder for the people who really have something to SAY.
So success must come from your own inner measure. I can’t chase ideas that don’t reflect who I am. I always have to come back to the essence of what I care about. I am independent, and I create my own content: words, and many times, images. I am not a curator of other people’s images. I choose not to be sponsored by any major industry organization. I focus on ideas that I find fascinating and important, like delving into a designer’s mind to glean the origin of a design, or trekking literally into the dirt to understand where a gemstone comes from. I construct with words.
I wrote this for anyone who creates. Anyone who might open their email, check their Twitter or Instagram feed, and find that someone else GOT THERE FIRST with kudos, recognition, or applause. Maybe it’s their idea. Maybe it’s your idea. When you care deeply, you will be wounded sometimes. There is still beauty out there, you just have to look a little harder for it. Return to your craft, and YOUR truth. And remember, not everyone is a writer.