Do You Ever Feel Like Your Work Sucks?

There have been far too many occasions in the past where I've been holding back from either starting a project or completing it. I would start procrastinating, finding different reasons and excuses to do anything but the project at hand. This mostly came down to the fact that I was unhappy with the work I was producing. I wanted my work to look like the stuff I saw on Instagram or Fstoppers, however, no practice no progress. Fortunately, for the most part, I have been able to remedy that mentality, although the feeling does creep up from time to time.

Many times, looking at other creatives work can be disheartening, and it can start a whole line of self-doubting questions. I may not ever create absolutely perfect work that I'm genuinely happy to release, however that may not be a bad thing. In his latest video, Peter McKinnon talks about how trying to create perfect work may not be the best idea. As he says quite often, "Done is better than perfect." In general, you tend to learn more from your losses than you do from when you win. It may be cliche, but it's still very true. Too long I, and I'm sure many other creatives, have been crippled by this need to create incredible life fulfilling work as opposed to simply creating work. Losing is perfectly fine; it's an opportunity to learn and develop those skills. Of course, there is a balance and finding that line might be difficult, but I hope this video helps motivate you to create new content, start that project, or finish whatever it is you're currently working on

Lead image by Nik Shuliahin via Unsplash.

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8 Comments

David Wilder's picture

I struggle with this all the time, it’s the hardest thing in life to overcome. I get to feeling this way when I see other photographers shots and think wow that’s really good. I start thinking that way when I look at others follower count and think why isn’t mine like that. Maybe when I enter a contest and I don’t place very well, I begin to question am I actually any good. The biggest one is when I’m not selling any prints or workshops,it makes me second guess myself. It makes me worry that I’m never meant to do this full time.

This feeling happens to all of us, I don’t think there is a way to permanently overcome it. Just a way to silence temporarily. I just pick up my camera and keep shooting, I keep going because photography makes me happy and that’s all that matters.

Is "always" an acceptable answer ?

Mike Yamin's picture

I often feel like my work sucks, but it's even worse when I feel like I'm doing the wrong thing completely. I look back at ten years of shooting and wish I knew the one thing I was meant to be shooting, because I still don't entirely know.

I did see a quote I liked yesterday from Nitch on IG by Martha Graham: "There is...only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist... The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open."

Samuel Flores Sanchez's picture

Fantastic quote! ...to keep the channel open! Great!!!! Thanks!

dale clark's picture

Usman...fantastic work...I looked at your web page. This happens to everyone. I started late in life (I'm now 50) and shooting professionally over 10 years now. I just think about how blessed I am to make a great living doing something I love and keep chipping away. "funks" are normal for any profession or field.

Ryan Burleson's picture

You have to suck at things to get better.

Oliver Kmia's picture

Damn, I should be a master by now.

Mark Holtze's picture

Where does one go once he's/she's mastered something...it's like a ROAD trip...ALL about the journey, not about the destination ;).

Shoots are always different, edits are always different. Best thing you can do is sit back and look at what worked from your last piece and what didn't. Try to improve. I've seen top notch artists say they're still not happy with their own work or they feel they had to compromise too much or even simply ran out of time.

It's probably the fall out of an imaginary idea, the limitations of the real world (time, lighting etc etc) and a constant moving target as your idea develops the further into it you go.

Then there will always be someone who will be critical of it so it only rubs it more.

I swear if we had nothing to chase I don't think any of us would be making much of anything ;).