When what you make isn't good.
This video from Ira Glass has been floating around the web for months, but I keep it on my short list and watch it whenever I need encouragement. So often, I find that what I create isn't as good as I want it to be.
I know, all too well, those moments when what I make falls short on innovation, insight, or wit. However, says Mr. Glass, falling short shouldn't be discouraging; it should reinforce that your best work is in front of you. Your taste is strong enough to recognize poor quality which will should drive you to improve.
Take a minute and a half to watch...
I love Glass's suggestion that closing the gap between where you are and where you want to be is as simple as "keeping on keeping on."
The solution is simply to produce a large volume of work.
Even though he is specifically addressing the idea of storytelling, I think the principle holds no matter what you're doing. Just talking about what you want to do and how you want to improve is not enough; you actually have to do the work.
If you want to knit well, knit. A lot.
If you want to write well, get to writing. Take a break, then write some more.
If you want to cook well, be ready to spend a lot of time doing just that... (and enjoy it while you are at it!)
Whatever you want to do... do a large volume of it. Do the work.
In doing that, you'll find the gap between quality and reality will get smaller and smaller. Working doesn't leave room for short cuts (which feels right to me).
I need to remember this...and get to work.