Happiness can exist only in acceptance. —George Orwell
Sometimes I read a book—or even just a sentence—so lovely that it makes me burn with envy. I want that! I’ll think. I want that beautiful sentence to be mine, to come from my brain! Then I’ll frown at my own sentences, suddenly unhappy with them. Why can’t you be more like these other sentences? I’ll think. Then I’ll feel like a Bad Writer Who Will Never Write Anything As Good As [name of other writer here]. And guess who doesn’t want to write all of a sudden?
Value Your Own Gift
It can be difficult to steer ourselves away from Art Envy, but it’s vital that we remember that there is an infinite number of ways to create something valuable or beautiful for yourself or the world. It’s important to honor your own gift and to nurture it as much as you can. You would never criticize a cornflower for its failure to be a rose. Cornflowers are also beautiful. Both deserve to be in the world. Your writing is not like anyone else’s—and that is a good thing.
Art Is A Team Sport And There Is Only One Team
The truth is that art is not a competition. Art is a gift we give each other and ourselves. I have been trying to remember that these beautiful sentences that I love are mine now, they were given to me and the rest of the world by the artist. I can learn from these sentences, and perhaps I can admire them, like roses in a garden, or perhaps use them as fertilizer for my own crops. In the end, though, it’s my task to turn back to my own cornflowers, water them, and help them reach toward the sun.