By Analyn May
Over a month ago, I wrote an article about growing up and my thoughts on graduating. It was extremely well-received, and multiple people (including my employer— thanks, Mr. Sutton) told me that it was the best piece I’d written yet. You’d think I’d be really happy about this, and don’t get me wrong, I was. My readers’ kind words always make my day, and give me the confidence to keep writing. But in this particular case, there was one worry I couldn’t get out of my mind: if that piece touched so many people so deeply, how could anything else I wrote possibly measure up? What if the next column I wrote disappointed someone who was looking forward to it? I’ve pretty much spilled my heaviest subject matter that I can write about publicly; what topic would I even write about? Surely another piece on my grudges against the media or opinion on the power of friendship would seem dull by comparison to my last article.
So I stopped writing entirely. You’ll notice that I’ve been radio-silent for a while, and this is the reason why. But as you can probably predict, that didn’t really solve anything. I’ve missed hearing your feedback, and I’ve missed making money doing something I enjoy. Then today, I decided enough was enough. Already, I expect that this article won’t be as good as my last one. But you know what? That’s okay. Not every painting Van Gogh made was a Starry Night or Mona Lisa. Sometimes he painted a Dunes, and then sometimes he ran out of ideas and painted a Dunes with Figures.
I think this is a lesson we’ve all learned at one point or another, but it’s a good one to be reminded of. It’s okay to make something less than your best. The motivational posters lie; you CAN’T always give 100 percent. But you’ll never know when your next masterpiece will happen if you stop now. So if you’re like me, and you’re going through a low in your work— whatever your work may be— stop expecting so much of yourself and just keep grinding through. Your next Mona Lisa will be here before you know it.
But as always, that’s just my POV. Until next time, this is Analyn May, signing off.