When I write, I always keep this quote by Alan Moore at the forefront of my mind:
"Don't be afraid to use your own ideas."
Some people never have a problem. They are fiercely independent. However, by nature, I am a people pleaser. I want everyone to be happy and happy with me. Often, I get into the terrible habit of adapting to people's own preferences. You lose your identity pretty quickly. For anyone pursuing a creative interest, this can be the kiss of death. You have your ideas for a reason. They are meant to be used and explored. You have to be a bastard (of sorts) about your ideas. You sit in front of Microsoft Word, and you say to yourself: "No one is going to get it. Who cares? Move forward and let it be." This reminder from Alan Moore helps me turn off the internal censor.
Now, I'm reaching a new stage in my writing. New challenges. And I turn to this quote by Neil Gaiman about persistence (YouTube link):
"You put one word after another like putting brick onto a wall. And sooner or later, you look and you've managed to build the palace of Mad King Ludwig of Bavaria... out of matchsticks."
I've learned how to stand my ground and trust my ideas, but now I need to get more ambitious.
After visiting the Hearst Castle, I learned quite a bit about William Randolph Hearst. The man was simply incapable of thinking small. Great writers and artists seem to have this one unifying trait. They are ambitious. All people are born ambitious (my daughter told me she wants to marry Joe Jonas and have a house the size of a mall), but many people have tamed it in exchange for smaller goals. That's not always a bad thing. Sometimes, it's the reality of life. It's easy to think big, when your dad is George Hearst. Still. It's important to reclaim ambition for the things you truly love. And you build: one word after another.