AKA, “Make Bad Work”.
Neil Gaiman’s advice to young artists to “make good art” is useful and supportive, but equally useful and supportive is Ira Glass’s advice that young artists should be prepared to make bad work, and a lot of it.
Creative work is often discussed, even among people who know better, in a romantic language that implicitly contains our cultural myths about genius and inspiration, because that’s the language we have for creativity. When we talk about a successful artist’s early career, it’s usually in terms of innate talent and voice that’s visible even in their early work. It’s easy to forget, especially for young artists trying to figure out what’s worth showing and what’s worth finishing, that that’s an interpretation made in hindsight, and often contains more than a little wishful thinking. There will be a lot of bad work.