When You Think Your Art Sucks and Shouldn’t Be Published

“When we share those stories we’ve been scared to share, voicelessness loses its wicked grasp.” ― Jo Ann Fore

The feeling is now a regular excerpt of my existence: I write and wonder where my muse went. I stare at my screen till tears form. I sit with hundreds of unfinished drafts in fear of the inevitable disgust I will face should I attempt editing.

You will create art that is sub-par, art that you’d rather throw away.

The kind you can’t believe you made because it sucks so, so terribly.

In this disbelief, you’re also aware that you made it.

This sucks. And you made it.

But do you suck?

You need to draw the line.

One thing that may help swallow this pill and brace for the possible negative feedback is this you’re the only one who has spent time with this piece of art.

You’ve been studying the greats, reading the best, listening to the masters, consuming legends. You may not be aware that you’re comparing your current output with everything that you’ve taken in.

You’re judging your art with that of artists who have bled for ages before arriving the level you now think you should be comparing yourself with.

Let’s ignore the arrogance of such a vision and place our minds in this singular truth: no one can make what you were sent on this earth to make.

“It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent”
Madeleine K. Albright

Most of us start by copying those we love and admire.

Somewhere along that journey, we have glimpses into our unique mission — our voice.

We struggle, burn candles, continue the quest and hone it.

We easily forget that we cannot measure our progress in real time.

Which brings me to the point of this all:

No matter what you make, how much you think it sucks, how much you hate your art, how tempting it is to think you aren’t making any progress, remember three things.

1. We’re often too close to our work to be objective.

2. ‘Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in 10 years’ — Bill Gates.

3. One man’s meat is another man’s poison — African Idiom.

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Photo by gustavo centurion on Unsplash

Publish that post. Share that poem. Upload that song. Write that piece. Produce that beat.

When you’re done, go back to making that which only you can make: your art.

‘An artist should never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of style, prisoner of reputation, prisoner of success’

— Henri Matisse

Written by

Cameroonian writer and video creator. Featured in LEVEL and P.S. I Love You. I write about building relationships and personal transformation.

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