It’s All Been Said Before — Or Has It?

You Think You Have Nothing New to Say?

A big obstacle I hear my clients talk about is fearing that they’ll have nothing new to say on their subject.

“Julia Cameron already wrote The Artist’s Way, what could I possibly have to say about creative recovery that is new or different?” (Except that Steven Pressfield and so many others have too.)

“Anne McCaffrey already wrote the best books about dragons, I can’t possibly approach it from a fresh perspective.” (Except that Patrick Rothfuss, Christopher Paolini, and Naomi Novik have kicked some serious dragon ass lately.)

This is what I say to my clients:

“You have a specific audience that will only hear this message from you. They may have heard it 100 times before, but they will not hear it in exactly this way until YOU are the one that says it to them.

“Plus, you have your own unique perspective and take on what it is that you are sharing. Your work is a magical amalgamation of everything you have learned, with a twist that is just your own, pulled together in a way that only you can do. That makes your voice worth hearing.”

“And besides,” I add, “if you don’t say it (or write it or share it), your audience will never receive it. They are waiting to hear it from you.”

The Missing Piece

Today I found the perfect add-on antidote to this fear from French Romantic artist Eugène Delacroix (noted in the sidebar of the Artist’s Way no less):

“What moves men of genius, or rather what inspires their work, is not new ideas, but their obsession with the idea that what has already been said is still not enough.”

My heart said, “YES! That’s it!”

There IS a missing piece here, and this touches it.

Somehow you know there is more to say on your subject, and that is why you are drawn to it. So rather than doubting that you have important words to add to the conversation, just do it.

Lend your voice to the conversation.

Speak your mind.

Share your thoughts.

Good grief, I’m writing an ebook about creative blocks. Aren’t there enough of those already?

Apparently not, or I would not be drawn to write one.

Choosing A Niche

We know that choosing a specific niche is a more powerful way to position yourself in a market and therefore attract more clients and be more successful.

And yet choosing a niche is often triggers this very obstacle: “So-and-so is already ‘The’ Coach/Consultant/Expert/Writer/? on this topic, how can I possibly add more?” etc. etc.

The solution?

Pants.

And trains.

Read on…

The Wonderful World of Pants

In my Artist’s Way Accountability and Support Group today Mary shared a funny perspective on pants:

Just because one person once-upon-a-time made pants, that didn’t deter the second person from coming along and having a go at making their own kind of pants. She added, “I’m just the second pants maker.”

There are so many different kinds of pants, why would we ever think we couldn’t make our own contribution to the marketplace? In the case of pants, we could aim to fit other body types, to try another style, to specialize in particular kind of pants (dress, maternity, casual, work, jeans, dress jeans), etc.

Taken a step farther, one could have thought that Levi’s had cornered the market on jeans back-when, and for a while they did. But then pretty soon someone thought they could take another crack at it.

It goes to show you that there is always room to innovate, to do better, and to ‘say’ more.

The Ultra Specific British Train Niche

Similarly, I’ve been recently exposed to a new perspective on niche in the ultra specific case of British train series for kids.

My 3-1/2 year old loves the trains, shows, and characters from Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends. Through the course of exploring around, we somehow happened upon another British train series, Chuggington, that is also great fun.

How audacious for someone to take a stab at a new British train franchise with the huge success of Thomas already! Who knew the world would need (or want) two British train series for kids?

So Why Not You, Too?

So when you think about your specific expertise and lending your voice to the topic you’re most passionate about, can you find the courage to be innovative and step out with your fresh perspective and voice, trusting that you’ll have something new to say, no matter who else might “already” be doing it?

I’d love to hear from you about:

  • How this resonates for you?
  • Other examples you might have of innovations that inspire you to speak up or write about your topic.
  • Anything else this sparks for you.
  • Post your comments on my blog.

 

Coming Attractions

~> May 17th and 24th, 2011. My Artist’s Way Accountability & Support Group continues. Details.

~>May 26th to May 28th, 2011. Attending Andrea J. Lee’s Wealthy Thought Leader event via simulcast.

~>May 28th, 2011. Next broadcast of my Dreamification Radio show on Radio Lightworker. Details. Listen from anywhere in the world to this Internet radio show.

~>June 9th, 16th, and 23rd, 2011. My brand new Life Purpose Breakthrough Group event series. Details.

 

Comments

  1. Jen Chisel says:

    Yes Jenna!! You have provided some fantastic examples where there was/is more to say! Examples that the inner critic will have a heck of a time dismissing :) Take that inner critic!! And that! And that! There, I think he’s down for the count for a bit – on this topic anyway!! Thanks as always for making it authentic in a way that deeply resonates :) Hugs!!!

    • Jenna says:

      Jen, I agree, take that! Glad it all connected for you. :)

  2. Stacey says:

    Great post, Jenna! Love your train and pants analogies. By its very nature, creativity has an evolutionary aspect to it. Someone invented the gas stove because a caveman first discovered fire.

    • Jenna says:

      Stacey, yes, I love that: “creativity has an evolutionary aspect to it.” Innovation, invention, discovery — all rely heavily on both intuition and creativity. The delightful duo!

  3. Hey Jenna,

    Love those purty orange stars!

    There’s always a new way to say something. We put our own original spin on stuff. Not only that, folks need to hear something over and over for it to even sink in. And, yes, readers will come and go and even come back. That’s o.k.

    What’s new is old and new at the same time. Life is one giant circle of birth and death and birth and … same for everything.

    Giulietta

    • Jenna says:

      Giulietta, I agree about the sinking in and the original spinning. That is very true.

  4. Perfectly timed post for me, Jenna! I’ve been feeling REALLY small lately, finding it hard to stay on track with my big vision. Becoming visible and being heard is just beginning to happen for me. From what I’m reading here, I need to be heard saying more… *huh.*
    Thanks!

    • Jenna says:

      Lydia, So glad you read this. You are not a small woman and I know you are up to big things. Remember to breathe into that Big Vision and expand yourself into it when you lose your way. (Happens to the best of us!)

  5. Jennifer Carmack says:

    Niche is the French word if you are still playing. My fear about ‘saying it’ and being out is that I won’t be able to speak and write in a way that resonates. I have a tendency to want to hit people over the head rather than inspire! I’m impatient! And since I don’t know how to do it, why start? I was making pancakes on a large griddle and starting flipping them. Two of them were not really ready to flip but I kept at it until I made mush. I had an insight that I could wait and flip part then and part later. Sometimes I have such an all or nothing approach that it spoils breakfast and other things.

    • Jenna says:

      Oh! Niche! That’s so funny, I didn’t even think of it. But you are right. I will send you a coupon code!

      I wonder if part of your “brand” might be to hit people over the head. There is a style out there that is uniquely your own and it will resonate with your people and not with others. And you may also find that you want to moderate your pancake impatience just a wee bit. :)

  6. Huey says:

    Wow! Thanks so much for your great article..what a awesome way to start the morning in a positive manner. I was just giving myself a pep talk about why i should pursue my childhood dream of singing soul at the age of 37! I was wondering what did i have that was different to offer?? I look at incredible singers such as Adele& wonder how i could compare???But as you pointed out with the pants&trains theory we are all unique&have something to offer.. We just need to follow our bliss&not compete.much love&light from Australia

    • Jenna says:

      Huey, Fantabulous! I’m so glad this connected for you. PLEASE pursue your dream of singing soul! Your spirit wouldn’t be asking you for it if it weren’t a key part of you becoming even more of who you are meant to be. I love what you said, “We just need to follow our bliss and not compete.”

  7. Robin M. says:

    Thanks for the example of the PANTS!!
    I really needed to hear that EXACT thing! I will now eliminate that excuse from my list of why-I-can’t-risk-creating my art – “original” is a tricky concept. AND coincidently (ha!) I was just searching online earlier for the EXACT type of jeans I like (that cannot be found in stores anymore) which are just a tiny bit different from a million other jeans, BUT that tiny bit means everything… amazing how this works.

    • Jenna says:

      Robin, Great point, and I love that you were just looking for jeans today, LOL. :)

  8. Lance says:

    Jenna,
    I completely love this!! Yes, let’s kick some dragon ass!!

    I have certainly found myself with these thoughts – thoughts of “it’s already been done”, or “it’s already been said”. The thing is, though, we each bring a unique perspective. And that DOES add value and meaning.

    This is also just a great message to hear – on days when I can feel like I’m not adding anything, you remind me, today, that I am! And that’s a real boost!!

    • Jenna says:

      Lance, I love that, “let’s kick some dragon ass!” So glad this article inspired you. Your site looks awesome and I love that you’re sharing your “stuff” with the world. :)

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