“How did I think this was good?”

…every creative person who attempts to be creative for more than a few months at a stretch will eventually come face to face with this painful question.

If they are actually doing what they should be doing, that is: attempting to improve.

Learning. Growing. Getting smarter and nimbler and, hopefully, humbler, too.

I know; it’s never fun to look back on something you’ve done and determine that it is lacking. Typos are humiliating. Poorly wrought turns of phrase are cringe-inducing. Sloppily designed graphics and ugly, poorly exposed photos that you proudly pasted all over the internet are, in the fullness of time and learning, often straight painful to behold.

Growing as a creative person just… hurts.

But when I encounter a particularly awful piece of work from my own archive, I comfort myself with a single thought: “At least I don’t still think it’s good.”

It’s like a cooling balm for my creative ego: I sucked then, perhaps, but look at me now!

I am at least improved enough to recognize that I sucked, and to plainly identify in which ways I did this sucking.

And that, friends, is how we get better. By conspiring to suck a little less with each new endeavor, each new project, over passing time.

So cringe at yourself. And do it regularly. Stay perpetually, ever-so-slightly uncomfortable; it’s how you grow.

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