I wish more people turned into the skid of their talent level.
Most people aren’t talented enough to draw for Marvel or write for Random House.
That doesn’t mean they’ll never be talented enough. It just means they aren’t talented enough right now.
However, they still try to keep trying to draw like a Marvel artist or write as complicated a story as somebody like George R.R. Martin.
Then, they get frustrated when they fall flat and people don’t respond to their work.
Life is so much more fun when you realize your own limitations and then create the best thing you can with the skills you currently have.
When I first started writing comics, I knew there would be holes in my continuity and that I couldn’t write an ongoing story. I just wasn’t good enough yet.
So instead, I chose to write a story about a psychopath where perception mattered more than reality. I also made sure to keep it short to cover up my weaknesses with world building and plotting.
By keeping it four issues and using Renzo Podestá’s surrealistic art style, it allowed me to play up my deficiencies, and even turn them into strengths.
When I first started writing novels, I knew I couldn’t sustain 80,000 words, so my first book was 40,000. I also knew I wasn’t a good enough wordsmith to handle a piece of adult literature, so I chose middle grade fiction because the word schemes were less complicated.
For my second book, I chose to increase the word count and the verbiage, but I still wasn’t comfortable telling a whole story, so I chose to write my book in blogs because I knew I could nail that structure. I had been writing blogs for years up until that point.
People always talk about how innovative My Father Didn’t Kill Himself is as a concept, but it was just a way to cover up a major flaw in my writing.
This isn’t to brag. It’s to show how you can work within your limitations and create awesome things utilizing your current skill set.
When you finish that project your skill set will grow and you can take on bigger and more ambitious projects.
AND, you will have made something amazing, instead of mediocre, because you worked within your current skill set and delivered a product you knew you could crush.
But if you try to reach that standard of perfection, whether it be Jim Lee, Robert Jordan, or whoever, when you don’t have the skillset for it, you are going to fail. Your art is going to look weird, your writing is going to fall flat, and your project just isn’t going to be very good. You’ll know it’s not very good, too, which is why you won’t want to release it. Then, your career will stall.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t strive for excellence. It’s to say you should strive for excellence within your current skill set, expand the breadth of your skills with each project, and get better with each project.
If you do that, you’ll be able to succeed at each stage of your career, instead of just at the end of it.