The Creative Gap

“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.”

I struggled with this for years, indeed. It was a time when I was fascinated with hand-lettering. Drawing letters, instead of simply writing them.

On the lookout for inspiration, I became more and more frustrated. Why is everyone else so much better? What can’t I do what they do? It took its sweet time for me to get past this urge to compare and wanting to do what they do. Eventually, I found my own style I was content with.

Looking back, I believe this gap is actually a very helpful asset. It helps asses whether the work you created lives up to your standards, to where you want it to be. If it does not—well, time to get your fingers dirty once more.