Don’t assume the value others get from what you made will match your own opinion of it. Think of all the songs or movies artists and actors don’t think are their personal bests but fans love or find something to love about. (Example: Vanessa Carlton and A Thousand Miles) You tried your best at the time of making it, and there is always a chance someone else will find some value from it – as long as you share it.*
I have a thing where I like to look to other non-related/adjacent creative industries – TV & film, music, etc. and find perspective – it’s easier looking at them when it’s not a direct comparison.
I started to notice a familiar pattern I heard over and over from various artists and creatives: that a lot of fan-favorite jobs or projects were often the ones they didn’t like or weren’t as proud of, and conversely, their favorites are often the more low-key projects.
- Vanessa Carlton and A Thousand Miles
- Adam Brody hated his acting in the OC
- Anya Taylor Joy hated her own acting
- Lorde thinks “Royals” is bad
As much as we all want or assume that all of our own opinions will match everyone else’s, for better or worse, it’s just not how it works.
I’m sharing this perspective in the hopes that it will help – it’s a freeing thought that you can’t control how others react to you or your work. They might hate your favorite — that one you loved and were so proud of — and conversely, they might love the one you thought was ok, or bad, or the one looking back you think “what was I thinking then? I’m so much better now”. Which means that all you can do is make stuff and put it out there. As long as you thought it was worthwhile while you were making it – that’s enough, and it was. There was a reason you were called to make it or do it the way you did. When you know better, you can do better (to paraphrase Maya Angelou)
So don’t assume the value others will get from your work.
Focus on trying to improve with each next project, but don’t crap on your past work. All you can do is create and make from an authentic and truthful place (aka not stealing work) now. If you like it at the time, it’s enough.