For months, I have been paralyzed. When I sit down to write, nothing comes out. When I start to design, I stare at a blank canvas. My ability to create things does not meet my own ridiculously high standards of quality, so I get stuck in endless loops of making decent things, throwing them away, and then starting over from scratch. I’ve been floating around in despair, in a creativity limbo, which has nearly destroyed me. I stopped working. I became depressed.
[…] and while I now feel more inspired and energized than ever, the paralytic gap between my actual ability to create and my sense of what is “good enough” remains. I cannot make things good enough for myself. The problem is festering in my thoughts, and I doubt myself at every turn.
The truth is that perfection is impossible and “good enough” is good enough. I need to lower the standards I have for my own work. But as a designer, this task is insurmountably difficult. It feels like defeat. It’s a tacit admission that I am not good enough to create things that meet the same level of quality that I demand from others when I evaluate creative work. My “taste” exceeds my own ability.
— excerpted from The Gap by Dustin Curtis
Being a designer often feels like volunteering to roll a rock up a hill while a committee flogs you and complains about your lack of “pizzazz.” Those blows may wound but they rarely cut as deep as the criticism we inflict upon our self.
Coming to terms with that is an entirely separate Sisyphean task.
To see someone else acknowledge this struggle allows for a much needed catharsis. They say “I’m scared shitless.” And we, momentarily relieved of the need to be stoically watertight, can say “You and me both, pal.”