How to Deal with Hating Your Own Creative Work
Creatives are typically their own worst critics. As a species, we're very negative about our own work. We create something, we overanalyze it, we throw it away. We feel that we have to create some perfect, masterful work of art before we show anyone. This is absurd!
It might be one of the most frustrating things to look at what you've created, and feel disgust rising in you. Producers, directors, artists, musicians, writers, photographers, designers - you all know exactly what I'm talking about. We start off on a creative high, and after we come down we can't help but think poorly of whatever it is we've just done.
I release a decent amount of content, 5-7 pieces a week. If I'm lucky, I might like one of those. On average, I probably feel okay about one out of every five posts I write. I only really like maybe one out of twenty. How do I feel about this post? Meh. I get so frustrated over my work, especially over these last few weeks. I've strongly disliked nearly everything!
I dislike most of what I create, but I still share nearly everything I write. Why? How does a creative feel bad about his or her own work, yet tell the world they should pay attention to it? Well, they don't. Here's what I mean. This is how you can deal with hating your own creative work, and even use that disdain to help you grow.
Because of how people interact with others, and with social media today, growing your brand is about telling your story. I don't mean literally telling others why you do what you do, or what makes you "special," like a video you'd see see on XYZ business' homepage. I mean that everyone wants to see your story in action.
Humans are relational beings, right? People - your audience - want to be able to build a relationship with you. Even if they can't be around you or speak with you directly, they want to feel connected to you. This is where your work comes into play, even the work you hate.
People want to feel connected to you. They want to see your story develop. They want to see your faults, your mistakes, your bad choices. They also want to see when you have a breakthrough. They want to see you succeed, and grow, and prosper. People want to see your creative development. They want to support you in your successes and your mistakes.
People want to watch all this unfold with you, but dealing with work you dislike is about more than what they want. It's also about telling yourself it's okay to be less than perfect. It's okay to let your flaws show, to be vulnerable. In fact, I think it's necessary. For you to get better at what you do, you've got to be willing to admit your imperfections to others.
For me, these last few weeks have been incredibly frustrating. I've torn up two out of every three pieces I've tried to write. I never do that! But it happens to all of us. I'm sure you've had the same experience.
I'm learning that I need to embrace my shortcomings. They're as much a part of who I am at this moment as any accomplishment could be. I know that for me to grow as a creative, to eventually turn what I do into a profit, and for all those watching my story develop, I need to be able to share my failures as well as my successes.
As creatives, we produce a lot of work that we would call sub-par. However, others might actually find value in that work you condemn. Even if they don't, sharing that work with others gives them another piece of the puzzle that is your story. Only with all those pieces, the good and the bad, is your story complete. It's okay to critique your own work. But don't shy away from what you've created because it's less than perfect. Embrace it.