Thursday, June 23, 2011

Disappointed by Good Taste

I feel like the illustration above could be a little more inclusive because not only do I sometimes have trouble putting thoughts onto paper, but also turn ideas into tangible/digital creations and execute visions exactly as I envision them.

Last night I spent several hours fiddling with a new blog layout and was thisclose to clicking "Apply to Blog" just to get something started, but I couldn't do it. I wasn't completely satisfied. And now this morning I'm thinking that everything I did last night was absolute crap. Bah!

Same goes for other creative work. I know everything I do could be SO much better because what I do still doesn't compare to how it looks inside my head. Somewhere along the route from brain to fingertips things get a little wonky and my recognizing this is what frustrates me to no end. This actually reminds me of a great quote from radio personality Ira Glass on good taste that's stuck with me the last few months (via Kottke):

"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."

I know there is no progress without action and learning from both the good and bad, but it's also hard to present something you feel is subpar. That said, it's such a wonderful feeling when you do manage to bring an idea to life and it turns out pretty awesome. Those are the moments I want to strive for, but in order to get there I know I have to go through many disappointing ones along the way. *womp, womp*

Have you ever let your disappointments keep you from trying again?



  1. I think this happens to everyone, especially creatives. It's s struggle, but you have to keep pushing yourself. Sure, you'll fall here and there along the way, but you pick yourself back up and keep trying. The end result is worth it and will make the journey that much sweeter.

  2. I have.

    I admit it.

    Sometimes I just can't make what I envision become "real." I get frustrated fairly quickly with that... and adjust by "settling for less than the vision" on occassion...but sometimes I just walk away.

    I understand a couple things - one is how frustrated one can be when one's hands don't do what the "brain envisions them doing" -

    ...and that you are far too hard on yourself...

    ...and the nature of handmade items - the thing that puts the love, heart and soul into the fabrics, paper or whatever you are working with are the slight "customizations" that your hands make -- they aren't "mistakes".

  3. Wow, that quote was so right on. Thanks for sharing. There are so many times I have a brilliant idea, and when one thing doesn't go the right way, I trash the whole thing. I need to learn to go forth and execute :)

  4. Well good news, I made some headway on a blog layout and I like the new direction MUCH better. I'm not as familiar with HTML or CSS as I wish I were, but using some other site designs that I LOVED as inspiration and Google as my school, I'm making progress.

    claudia, Thanks so much for popping in! It's great to hear from someone who's pulled through to the other side. I bet there were a lot of bumps along the way, but it's inspiring/encouraging to see what can come from hard work and perseverance. Hope everything has been going great since the stationery show!

    For those who don't know, Claudia is the creative force behind Fig. 2 Design Studio and she just launched her online shop this week!

    intense guy, Yeah, I know it happens. My question for you is this: when you give up on the idea or push it aside, does it keep nagging at you? Because that's my blessing and curse. If I "give up" on something it stays in my mind for weeks, months, sometimes even years until I FINALLY come up with the right solution or at least attempt it before deeming it a complete failure and moving on. I'm a bit obsessive in that way. So I might stumble, get frustrated and hate it, but I eventually turn to it again or focus on achieving other things in the meantime.

    I love what you said about imperfections adding heart and character to handmade items. I just have standards that sometimes can't be met with the skills I currently have. There's still much to learn, but I'm still pushing through for now anyway.

    Oh, and you know who else said I was being too hard on myself when I posted this link on Facebook? Mr. First's mom. You're both right.

    laurnie, You're welcome! It's tough sometimes, but the little jolt of excitement you feel when successes flashes by for a moment makes you want to strive for more.

  5. The worst is when I have to go head-to-head against other copywriters in a group meeting where everyone reads their headlines out loud. It is torture. But I have to do it, so there's not option of letting it stop me from trying again. Sometimes I wonder if I'm a glutton for punishment. ;-p

  6. Just don't quit! :)

    I think everyone givves up like that at some point. The trick is to figure out a way to be one of those people for whom it's a rare occurance.

  7. I really like the new look!!!

    It has that elegance that simplicity can give things.


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