As a self-employed professional or creative, you’re creating new stuff all the time. You may write blog posts, design courses, produce marketing copy, craft speeches, create designs for clients, devise strategic plans, or dozens of other possibilities.

It’s a good bet you’ve had the experience of creating a thing that turned out considerably worse than the brilliant ideas in your head. Maybe you’ve even declared that piece of work “no good.” And, perhaps the experience made you start to think that you’ll never be able to turn out that sort of work. Your stuff just isn’t good enough.


Guess what? This is normal. Anyone who creates work that begins in their head has these thoughts at times.

Robin McKinley, an award-winning author of fantasy novels and children’s books, was speaking of writers when she described this feeling, but what she said applies to any type of work. “One of the biggest, and possibly the biggest, obstacle to becoming a writer… is learning to live with the fact that the wonderful story in your head is infinitely better, truer, more moving, more fascinating, more perceptive, than anything you’re going to manage to get down on paper. (And if you ever think otherwise, then you’ve turned into an arrogant self-satisfied prat, and should look for another job or another avocation or another weekend activity.) So, you have to learn to live with the fact that you’re never going to write well enough.”

If Robin had stopped right there, I wouldn’t be quoting her. Nobody wants to hear an expert tell them their work will never be good enough.

But here’s what Robin went on to say: “Of course, that’s what keeps you trying — trying as hard as you can — which is a good thing.”

You see, if you thought your work was great to begin with, you’d never try to improve it. You’d be an “arrogant, self-satisfied prat” and you’d never get anywhere.

So, take heart if you sometimes think the work you create is no good. That means you’ll work at making it better. And that’s how you’ll make it good enough.

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