As a struggling writer, I was constantly fearful of mediocrity. Mediocre means that my articles, blog posts, poems, stories, or FB posts looked and felt like any other’s piece. It means producing or creating something so un-extraordinary . In another word, mediocrity is simply the writer’s doubt.
“Can my written pieces offer anything new or unique?
This doubt haunt me — whether I’m working on my nth newsletter, copywriting, or blog-writing. Perhaps, it’s a good thing that writing poetry is by and large my medium of expression; it liberates me from worrying over my audience’s perception — “oh how mediocre could she get?” But this doubt isn’t gone for long; it looms back at me whenever I share them via social media or poetry readings.
As I continue to invite people to review my drafts at work and expose my written art , I’m able to flesh out my fear, my mediocrity.
me VS. mediocre
In the article, “4 daily habits that will boost your creativity,” Hillary Weiss describes the underlying assumption behind the pressure that creatives face on a constant basis:
“It’s as if the life of a designer/copywriter/developer/strategist/etc… is some mysterious muse-summoning marathon, fuelled by coffee and Spotify, that requires an unceasing burning and churning in the brain.” ~ Weiss on Crew ~
To create something new, creative, fresh, or original — this is the infamous obsession that drives professional creatives to think outside the box. It’s the same thing that drove me, too. Yet, contrary to popular belief, this push against mediocre work isn’t always healthy. For years, this perception has alienated me from the idea of working WITH mediocrity. I was too occupied on trying to create only non-mediocre, extraordinary pieces that I didn’t have the time or sense to work with what I simply had — the first draft — which have both unique and mundane elements in it.
Perhaps, that’s the thing about fear: my fear of mediocrity had pushed me away from working closer with myself because I feared that sooner or later, I will find out that I’m fake, I’m mediocre, and that I was incapable of creating a grand masterpiece. But that same fear that wrought upon me unnecessary pressure and self-lashing eventually wore out.
“SO WHAT if I’m mediocre?”
me in MEdiocrity
By looking at patterns of writing that worked for me, I’ve found that mediocre isn’t necessarily a bad start. If I try to be patient with the first, second, or third ugly, mediocre draft, then I can gradually write close to a better, more handsome written piece. By working — instead of fighting — with my mediocrity, I don’t only tap on the potentials my draft have. This time I can also look at my written work with more compassion.
PS: I still have that fear. This perspective won’t immediately take the pressure or self-lashing away. But I’m proud to say, I am getting there.
How about you?