Hung Up

artists, we sometimes get hung up comparing ourselves to our heroes. No matter how much talent we possess, we often get trapped thinking that we have to make a better version of a work we admire.

As a writer, there are many works in which I recognize something I admire, and which I have, in the past, wanted to capture for my own work. Sometimes it's good to have models, but they can also become a burden and weigh you down. There were plenty of directions my own work could go at times, as I like my work to be somewhat spontaneous, and yet, I've often found myself too strongly identifying my work with someone else's, even when I made a conscious decision not to.

If you have this problem, there are two things I would advise you to do. First, put aside that work which you too strongly identify with for a time. It might grow in your mind into something mythic and larger than life, but eventually, it'll pass from your memory with some concentration. Focus on what you like about your own work and what you're trying to accomplish. Let it grow organically.

Next, after a while, go back and revisit that work which you too strongly identified with. After a break, you might find that, while you still enjoy it, it is not necessarily a masterpiece-that a human, not even a human genius, created it (9 times out of 10, anyway).

You can also research and get a little background on the work in question. You'll often discover that the work you were obsessed with was created by someone who was in turn obsessed with the work of another person. Get yourself familiar with the works that inspired the one that inspired you. This way, you'll get a fuller picture of what the artist you admire was trying to do, and you can also consider yourself, rather than a simple copycat, someone who belongs to a tradition of a certain kind of art, only this way you'll have more variables from which you can draw inspiration.

I'd like to hear in the comment section below from anyone who has been through something similar. Let me know what it was like.