“There are so many great authors in the world and I’ll never be as good as them, so what’s the point in even trying?” This is a common response I hear from people who want to be writers, but are afraid.
When I hear this it leads me to wonder, what if Plato had never had the courage or the curiosity to follow in the footsteps of his teacher, Socrates? And what if Aristotle had felt too inadequate to follow in the footsteps of Plato? What if Anne Morrow Lindbergh had never written Gift from the Sea, which appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for 80 weeks, because other female authors like Anais Nin or Maya Angelou were already writing about a woman’s role in the world? And what if Anne’s daughter, Reeve Lindbergh, had never written and published over 25 books, because her mother was already a bestselling author, beloved by millions of people? What if I had never written this book, because thousands of other books about writing already exist? And what if you never write the book that is inside of you?
I don’t believe that the number of great books that have been written or inventions that have been created or mysteries that have been solved should ever prevent us from searching deeper and exploring further in our own lives. There will always be more to write and more to create and more to discover. The purpose of art is not to reach a conclusion; the purpose of art is to keep us expanding. So it is our responsibility to expand upon what has come before us and it will be the responsibility of future generations to expand upon what we do, right now, in our time on earth.