January 31, 2013 by bradcharlesbeals
As I wander the writer/author social-media world, I’m bombarded by messages that I’m wonderful. And I don’t mean personal, direct messages, but the broadcast, shotgun kind.
Self-esteem training by scatter-shot.
And while it’s nice that everyone thinks that about me, the most that words like wonderful, amazing, spectacular, and their modest cousin special can do is to name categories. They segment a class of performers as praise-worthy so that any one member in that group is just that–a member of a group.
Such words lift us to a high degree of praise, and that seems like a good thing, but they do so in the same way a trophy gets locked in a case with a hundred others.
I don’t want to be a trophy, and I for sure don’t want to be a category.
So I guess I don’t want to be told that I’m wonderful.
I have a better word.
Unlike wonderful, the word unique precludes all modifiers of degree so that to say one is “very unique” or “somewhat unique” or “less” or “more” or “most” unique just doesn’t work. Not only do those words not modify unique–because they can’t–they flat-out nullify the word. If A is more unique than B, then it’s also true that both A and B are somehow unique. But hang on, unique means one of a kind. Either A is unique or B, but not both.
Unique is unique. Period.
It shrugs off modifiers.
It doesn’t need them.
Whereas one can be more or less amazing, least or most spectacular, to be unique shares a podium with no one. Not even with invisible words like very or somewhat.
Unique won’t fit into the broad category that wonderful names. Unique is too proud.
Wonderful will slum around with anyone.
Writer, throw off forever the notion of being wonderful!
Let everyone else be wonderful.
You are unique.
No one else occupies your space, lives your life, sees with your eyes, or speaks with your voice.
No one can write it–whatever your IT is–like you do. So stop imitating. Stop following models. Stop borrowing. There’s a time for that sort of thing, but it’s not forever.
Find your voice. It will be unique. Guaranteed.
Then give it away.