i paint i write

Live boldly, laugh and make art

be original


Do you ever stare at what someone else made? Do you notice the attention they get? And, you want the attention. You want someone to notice you, you want the applause, the “Good job, Bob.” The, “Come to the front of the classroom and show your drawing Anne.”

So, you copy what they did, you make what they made.

And, you hope you will get attention. You hope someone will like what you copied. And, if they do. If they do applaud. They are applauding the fake you. The copycat art, that is not really your heart.

What you really want — is to create from the depths of your stomach, your guts. You want to make music that is your own song. You want your paintings to be you. You want your writing to be your own writing.

You want to be original.

But somewhere around third grade. You stopped being original. The teacher never asked you to come to the front of the classroom to show your artwork. The teacher walked past your desk. She didn’t say anything to you. Then she stopped at Mary’s desk. The teacher said, “Oh look class! Look at Mary’s drawing. This is great. I like this.”

And Mary only drew that way for the rest of her life, because she liked the sound of the praise. She wanted to experiment, but she stayed on the safe path of praise. Drawing to please the teacher. Drawing to please the teacher. Drawing to please the teacher.

And everyone else in the class started to draw like Mary because they wanted to hear the teacher say, “This is great. I like this.” “This is great. I like this.” “This is great. I like this.”

If you want to copy someone. Copy their passion. Be passionate about being yourself. Be you. Click To Tweet

Be original

Original as an adjective means: present or existing from the beginning; first or earliest, and created directly and personally by a particular artist; not a copy or imitation.

Stop looking at what the other guy is doing. Don't look outside of yourself, look within. Click To Tweet

“A poor original is better than a good imitation.”
― Ella Wheeler Wilcox


 Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of someone else.”
― Judy Garland
This is where in the story I remind you again about the need to be original, to think for yourself. And I try to find more quotes about being original. Searching on google for, “original quotes.”
When suddenly, I realize, I am not being original myself. I am copying other writers ideas about being original. Or maybe I am just using their thoughts on originality to prove my point. If I can find a quote from someone famous who agrees with me than my point is valid. Or more valid. 

Do you still want an A+

Perhaps that is the problem, we don’t want to be original because it could be lonely. What if you, or I actually created something that no-one else was doing? A new sound? A new way to writewithoutpunctuationbutwewouldbescaredthatitmightnotwork.
Or maybe we don’t want to create something unless we know it will be liked, or we have to have someone agree with it, or we have to only get good reviews, so we don’t make the art or write the poem unless we can be guaranteed an A+.

Your teacher is not watching you

But, you are not in third grade anymore. Your teacher is not sitting in your art studio staring at your canvas. What you create is none of her business. Your writing teacher who laughed when she read your story out loud in eighth grade because she thought it was funny, isn’t reading your rough drafts anymore.
Take off the mask of comparison, take off the fake face, open your eyes and look in the mirror. Create like the person you see in the mirror.
 How about you? Do you want to copy or create? As always I love to hear from you. Click here to comment.

About Pamela Hodges

I write slice of life stories to help you know you are loved, valuable and worthy just as you are. I am a writer, an artist, and a cleaner of seven litter boxes. I live in Pennsylvania with one husband, four cats, one dog and two birds.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • La McCoy

    Yes I do. You always inspire me.

  • I just heard about Judy Garland’s life this past weekend. It is a very sad one, indeed. Maybe she wanted to be herself and not the person everyone else wanted her to portray. (You had quoted her above which is what made me think of it.)

    • La McCoy

      Hi Eva!

  • I want to create. And yes, there is still a part of me that does want others to like what I create. But as long as I am true to myself I will find those who do like what I create. I am not creating for everyone. Great post Pamela.

  • My favorite quote is “Do you want to copy of create.” Perfect, Pamela.

    • Hello John,
      As as artist you are a creator. Creating landscapes that sing.
      Thank you for the perfect. A choice we have to make every day.

  • Krithika Rangarajan

    You killed it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOVE YOU, Pamela! #HUGSSS

    • Oh Krithika,
      You are so kind. Love you too, you original.

  • Berdeane Bodley

    You are and always will be the best, those teachers who walked by your desk to “Mary’s desk knew not where the talent REALLY was. Keep on being the artist you are, you have changed your style many times over the years & each different style has been a knockout!!! Way to go Pamela.

    • Oh mother,
      You have always been my biggest fan. What will I do when you die? I will just have to believe in myself. And, I must be the best me even if someone hates what I do. It won’t matter.
      Love your daughter. (When you die can I have your good scissors.)

    • Berdeane Bodley

      When you are the best you don’t need anyone grading you because you already know you are the best! Now about when I die, you need not worry about that because I am never dying, in your heart I will always be there, we have spoken about this before & you will always hear my voice there beside you. I love you.

  • DA Schuhow

    Good point Pam, use the voice that God created in you. No one has a voice like you.

    • Good Morning DA Schuhow,
      So nice to hear from you this morning. And, no one has a voice like you. Lets use the voices we have been given. To heal and bring joy.
      All my best,