Following on from yesterday, it brings to mind a common reason I have for being discouraged: not knowing where to start when things go wrong. When you have the habit, you’re swimming strongly, maybe you don’t know quite where you’re going, but you’ll know when you get there, and you feel confident. Then something happens, and the feeling that you’re lost comes to the fore.
But the only thing you can do, really, is start again, right where you are. It doesn’t matter where you were, or where you wanted to be. It only matters that you, in the words of the mighty DEVO, “get straight, go forward, move ahead […], it’s not too late”.
Now that I’ve put that song in your head for the foreseeable, go do your daily thing.
It’s inevitable we’ll sometimes feel like our work is crap. We’ll have imposter syndrome. We’ll feel as if we can’t do this any more, or that there’s no point, or that it doesn’t matter because no one’s checking it out.
It’s true that it probably doesn’t matter in a grand way—to the universe, to the world, to the internet. But that isn’t the same as having literally no meaning. It has exactly as much as we assign to it, no less. Others’ assessment of its worth (or meaning) can help support our continuing the work, sure, but it can’t generate the need in the first place. And given a need that was there before anything went out into the world, it follows that nothing more is necessary but to decide for ourselves.
And if the work is worth doing, in light of the need, the only way to have a chance at getting better at it is to keep doing it. That’s really the bedrock of practice. If nothing else, you’ll have something(s) getting better and better over time, the craft of the art experience. If we can focus on 1) satisfying the need by 2) doing the work and it’s 3) good to get better, we better 4) keep making it.