You Will Never Sit Down and Make Something Good

I wanted to write a little bit about one of the most monumental demons facing any creative endeavor: perfectionism.

Many people that I know don’t doodle.  They cook straight from recipes, don’t keep a journal, and learn only cover songs.  Meanwhile, they hold all their ideas for their “someday novel” (/other life work) preciously in their heads.

To state something harshly, they will never sit down and make anything good.  That is to say that any first (or second, or tenth, or one hundredth) iteration of an idea is most likely going to be unsatisfactory at best, and is not going to capture what they envision in their heads.

You have to build your skills.  You have to produce a lot-nay, truckloads-of, well, typically, crap.  You have to fail.  No one ever painted a masterpiece or composed a classic on their very first go.  The “overnight success” usually has 10 years behind that “one night.”  

And, it’s worth noting, those 10 years aren’t spent composing a hundred pieces or paintings, that’s 10 years of practicing scales.  Drawing the human hand enough times to fill 3 sketchbooks.  Music theory.  Life drawing.  Workshops.  Studies.  Doodling.  Journaling.

Generating.  Gathering.  Practicing.

Whatever it is you long to create, start today, and expect very little results for a long time coming.  It's true, you might have a knack, and you might be surprised.  But the expectation of instant satisfaction or recognition will kill your drive.  That just can't be why you do it.

As the great Ira Glass said, “...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...”