Why I Hate Everything I Make

The struggle we all have as designers and makers.

I’ve created countless things (both physical and digital) over the years, sinking days, weeks, sometimes months or years into each one. There’s a moment of satisfaction every time I finish something new, but those moments are typically short lived (a few days, weeks at most) and followed by melancholy and disinterest. I know I’m not alone because I’ve read countless comments and articles from other designers and makers describing the same problem — most giving in to the common belief that hating (on some level) everything you make is just part of being creative. But, if hating everything you make is just part of being creative, then why do we continue to punish ourselves? Why not just give up on our passions all together?

As human beings, I’m fairly certain we’ve been hard wired to thrive on continual knowledge and growth when it comes to things we’re naturally passionate about. So, as designers and makers of things (whatever they may be), we’ll never be content with what we’ve made because there always will be something new to make, hopefully even better than the last. In other words, it’s not the finished product we hate, rather the thought that it could have been made better or completely different for that matter based on what we’ve learned while making it.

Maybe if we loved everything we made, there would never be incentive to learn, grow or change which would inevitably result in stagnation. If we loved everything we made, the things we make would never get better. If this is true, we should embrace these negative feelings wholeheartedly (knowing where they come from) and channel them in positive ways — a new project, a blog post, playing with your kids, going for a run, anything productive really. The worst thing you can do is not do anything at all which can lead to a rabbit hole of self doubt — something I’m sure we’re all familiar with.

I love what I do, I’ll always struggle with what I make, and I’m just now (40 years later) starting to be comfortable with that fact.