Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself.
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
~Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1892
Whether we like it or not (and for most of us, the answer is not) we are all walking contradictions. The thing that Whitman realizes (and most of us fail to) is that contradiction isn’t actually a bad thing: it’s a symptom of authenticity.
As a writer, as an artist, as a creative force in the universe, you are large. You contain multitudes — as does your artwork. You’re not always going to religiously follow every preset rule, value, idea, or style. And that’s okay. Embrace the flux of contradiction and avoid becoming generic. Let one contradiction open the door to the next, as you discover just how beautifully complex you, and your creations, are. Because in that complexity lies your authenticity (and that my friends is the key to distinguishing yourself and your art from everyone else).
Take Whitman for example. Although he first published his work of poetry, Leaves of Grass, in 1855, he spent his entire life revising it. Being “done” didn’t stop Whitman from contradicting himself by continuing to work on this glorious book. If you haven’t yet, read it. Its soul-shaking praise of humanity and nature is truly epic (not to mention completely revolutionary for its time).
So remember: avoiding contradiction is the fastest way to blend in with the masses. And who wants to be just another blade of grass?