16.5 How Standing Out from the Crowd is Hard

June 19, 2011

In any creative field, it is easy to get swept up in ‘the latest trend’.

For quilters, the latest fabric collection, the latest block setting style, the latest gadgets.

This applies to all fields of creativity.

Depending on your goals, you may find yourself with two different approaches.

If your goal is to be right there in the middle of it all, to either sell your idea, sell your product, give value to other people, you have to know what other people want from you.

To be marketable, you have to be in the trend, or just in front of the trend, doing projects that other people like.

This puts you right smack dab in the middle, you have a popular blog, etsy shop, twitter account, facebook site, etc.

People look to you for advice, because they know you’re going to advise them in ways that they desire.

You may find comfort in knowing that other people are trusting you, and that you, in turn, are trusting other people.  Comfort in numbers.

You build a community.  Within that community, you belong somewhere.

You find a connection with others going this route, and in this, there is peace.

If your goal is to be unique, different, put your own spin on things, do things the way you want to, you’re much more likely to stop paying attention to the trends.

Perhaps you want to display something interesting that no one else has ever thought of before, a technique, a concept, a thought pattern.

You skew the materials in ways you see that other people haven’t seen.  You use certain colors together in a different way.  You bring topics together that are traditionally thought of as opposite.

People don’t always know how to react to this.  They wonder if they like it or not.  They wonder if they are on the same wavelength as you.

They may or may not comment, they may or may not tweet, share, discuss what you have to say or do.

Others may just not be ‘so sure’ about you or your product.  They appreciate that you were able to accomplish something you desired, but then, know in their hearts, they ‘just don’t understand’ or think, ‘that’s nice – not what I would do, but that’s nice’.

Sometimes, when choosing the second path, the unique path, you may find a yearning that you don’t expect.

Sometimes, you stand back and want to yell to the world “Hey, look at me!  See what I can do!  See how I think!  Talk about me to your friends!  All I want to do is fit in, and be a part of something.”

And sometimes you walk away with good comments, thing people do go out and say “hey, thanks for sharing that idea, it really got me thinking differently”.

Or sometimes you feel the satisfaction of ‘doing it your way’ regardless of what other people do say and think.  I did this thing, and it is mine, and I made my own trail into the world that has never been tried in this way before.

Sometimes the need for solitude wins out over the need for the community.  And sometimes it’s the other way around.

A quote heard recently on a podcast (Poly Cast) spoken by Leonard Nemoy from the Civilization IV video game series:

“The only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about”.

And there are days when I completely understand that quote.


  1. Darla, as I read this I could hear your voice saying the words.

    Keep creating! I love your work.

  2. Totally agree with the first comment. It sounds like something you’d say on your podcast. Love your insightfulness! 🙂

  3. Oh, and beautiful pics, by the way!

  4. Definitely understand how you feel. And I am really saddened by the comment “That is so cool, but I could never do that myself.”

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