Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through. (Ira Glass)
this is so true. and i want to add:
the gap doesn't go away. there is always a gap. it gets smaller over time; you get more comfortable living with it. maybe not comfortable, but you understand that it’s not going anywhere. if it did, you’d be bored.
i have unfinished paintings and loose sketches all around me in the studio. they teach me and remind me and coax me forward: towards the paintings i can see but can’t make yet. i am starting today on another layer on a canvas - a huge one - i started years ago. i put down the first three layers and then i stopped. i never minded it because i never messed it up — i didn't force it to come together before it was ready. i let it live here unfinished, like a roommate, waiting. reminding me what i had done that worked. and now there are several smaller ones all at that stage, and i can see the path forward on the bigger one. i get so impatient. but not with that one. that one is all about patience. here’s hoping i can keep it that way.