It’s OK If Your Art Sucks

Photo credit: Beata Ratuszniak via Unsplash.com

As a creative person who recently embarked on a journey to make a living off what I believe to be my artistic talents, I run smack into the Wall of Doubt every day. Sometimes at 90 miles per hour, sometimes at a slow crawl. Heck, sometimes I wake up and the Wall is just THERE, two inches from my nose. “Good morning, Wall,” I say in a froggy voice.

As a freelance writer, I am always asking myself the following questions (in addition to, did I put pants on today?): Am I really as creative as I think I am? Do I see the world in a more interesting or different way than other people? Is any iota of the work I make good at all? Or is it all just crap? Should I quit this fantastical nonsense and go back to a reliable desk job like a normal, logical person?

I have written so many stories, articles, and blog posts, and designed so many graphics and reports that were definitely total crap. It is painful to think about. I almost never read old things I’ve written, because I am afraid of sending myself spiraling down the rabbit hole of despair and questioning my life’s worth.

Then I watched the below video, which accompanies the words of Ira Glass, host of NPR’s This American Life. It was life changing. It made me appreciate my suckage. Check it out:

 

As you saw, suckage is part of the process. A necessary part. See, creatives have to make a lot of crap in order to discover what what makes something great, and how to make that great something, whatever it is–a painting, a song, a novel, a short story, a creepy doll made out of other creepy dolls… (WTF? is all I have to say about that. And, NIGHTMARES4LIFE).

So, the moral of the story is: suckage is a good thing. It is essential. So, to all my fellow creatives:

Keep sucking.
Keep failing.
Keep going

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