Don’t be quick to judge your work

I have a tendency to not like something I’ve made, right after making it.

I’m not sure why this happens. But for many handmade journals that I’ve made so far, my initial reaction after it’s complete is one of….”hmmm”. For example – I made this hard bound journal covered with vintage Indian silk a few months back. And due to some minor details that were different from what I originally intended, my initial reaction was that of disappointment.

This same thing happened with a soft bound leather journal that I made recently. I had a slightly different cover design in my head, and when the final product turned out a bit different, I was disappointed.

However, a few days back I opened my drawer where I keep all my newly made journals. And since it had been some time since I’d made the vintage silk journal or the caramel journal, I guess I didn’t have any pre-conceived notions when I looked at them with fresh eyes. And they looked so nice! 🙂 I noticed details that I’d ignored before – how the silk shown at various angles of the light, how the caramel looked so beautiful when juxtaposed against black, how the silk journal felt so sturdy and well made in my hands, how the caramel journal had a lovely simplicity of its own. Details that I was too disappointed to notice before, right when I’d made them.

As makers, sometimes we’re too hard on ourselves. While this mindset helps us obsess over the small details and strive to continuously improve, it can also be a stressful mindset. It does not make for a happy temperament to only notice the things that could have been better all the time 🙂

And so, my advice to you in case you suffer from this too – is to give your work some time and some space before you pass judgement on it. Yes, a lot of things could have been better. But quite a lot of things are already pretty good about what you’ve made 🙂 Give those details a chance to be noticed and appreciated by you 🙂

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