"There’s no question every creative discipline presents a learning curve. Whenever we set out to do something new, there’s a fairly high probability we’re not going to be able to just wing it and suddenly become masters in our field of choice. Chances are, our first published article won’t earn us a Pulizter prize, and our first Flickr upload won’t be featured on the cover of National Geographic. In the beginning, our work is way more likely to suck than to be awesome, and there’s nothing wrong with that."
"The creative life is a constant quest for improvement, and if we persevere, the quest can last a lifetime. We simply need to give ourselves permission to suck along the way."
Álvaro makes several good points in his post from yesterday about the creative process, wrestling with perfectionist tendencies and self-doubt. I mirrored much of that sentiment back in my Giving Myself Permission To Put Less-Than-Amazing Things Out post last December. In that post, I briefly touched on the struggles we face which Álvaro digs deep into with his piece.
I agree with what he says in the post in that it's absolutely critical for me to get over that little bit of initial doubt that comes along with starting anything new. Every time I sit down to write the rough draft of a new piece I'm putting a little bit of myself out there, even if it's just to myself. I have to deal with the probability that I won't create anything amazing, but I have to push through that doubt and fear in order to start doing what I love. Anyone who really puts themselves into their work has to conquer that self-doubt and push through to actually doing their work. If we didn't, then we'd never be able to make anything at all or improve from where we are currently.
Álvaro also points out how important and ok it is to look back at previous work and think badly of it in terms of where we are now. Sometimes even once I've finished painstakingly editing a piece and am ready to publish it, I'm still not sure if what I've made is good or not. When I go back and look at my previous pieces and compare them to where I am now, I do get a sense of progress and accomplishment, even if it comes from thinking how bad my pieces used to be. Looking back over my old work is one of the best and only ways to convince myself that I actually am getting better and that my output is becoming more high-quality bit by bit.
With the past two pieces I've put up on my blog I've tried to dedicate myself to being concise and writing a narrative that conveys my point as well as possible. That's tough for me right now and if I don't keep myself in check I can go on and on without advancing my writing at all. Another big part of the process that I'm working towards is revising what I've already written multiple times across several days to really give myself time to sit on a piece and decide how I feel about it and what I want from it. I'm really hoping that the quality of my work is improving as a result of these efforts. While there will always be a little bit of doubt in my mind about it, and when I look back on these pieces months from now I'll probably cringe a little, I'm proud of what I've created as of late; and for now it's a very rewarding feeling. Definitely give Álvaro's piece a read if you or a loved do creative work.