In one corner of my bedroom there is a giant pile of duds. I’m not talking about what you dress your cowboy in to take him to the dude ranch. My pile is an ever growing collection of good intentions and great ideas which when finished didn’t quite live up to the dream. I make a lot of things that turn out really well and get used by me or my family or given as gifts. I love to randomly send things to people in the mail with little to no explanation, sometimes not even a return address. But many things I make are only on the way to a good idea and so end up in the dud pile.
I love Ira Glass’s little video blurb “The Gap” I watch it when I need to remind myself that the first step to getting good at something is to make a lot of work and when you make a lot of work, especially at first, there is going to be a shit ton of crap.
The second step to getting good at something is editing…which is just a nice way of saying learn to recognize the crap. Figure out that just because you made something doesn’t necessarily make it any good. Ideally the crap should end up in the the garbage can or the scrap and reuse pile, But having made something I am always a little bit in love with it so the dud pile grows. Once in a while I go through the dud pile and take stock of what worked and what didn’t and I learn a bit from the mistakes.
I think any great artist is also a great editor. As a creative person gets better at what they do the dud pile grows at a slower pace as more and more you learn to weed out the crap ideas while they still live in your head.
You will only ever be judged by what you show off. So go ahead and make some crap!