The thing nobody tells you about creative work (except for all the people you ignore)

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(please do click on the link for the original site, there's more good stuff there)
Thanked by 2Tuism LexAquillia


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    Hoorah! The way you take self-criticism is so important. And just as important as the way you take other people's criticism in the same way -

    criticism from anyone should sharpen the creator's work - not wear down the creator! :)
  • And I just heard a really interesting point in this talk by Randy Pausch (Last lecture, after he's been diagnosed with terminal cancer, it's a good talk):

    "When people stop telling you what you're doing wrong, it means they've given up on you."
  • I was totally going to post this comic! :P An important message, that I think people fail to truly appreciate. Love Zen Pencils.
  • Your taste grows and matures too though. I don't think it's so much having the taste as the goal and trying to turn your work into it, so much as both of them evolving. I don't think you actually ever "get there", which is rather nice for me, because I'd get so bored if I somehow woke up and realised I'd learnt everything I needed to and had somehow closed the gap completely.
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    @Elyaradine: Agreed, I think that people's tastes do mature and evolve, but there's that specific sense of wonder, that germ of "Oh wow, this thing I'm look at/hearing/playing/tasting/smelling/rubbing up against is amazing somehow" fascination that makes us try to emulate it. I don't think that great creators ever really feel that they've nailed that either, no matter how long they spend becoming good. The best thing to do seems to be to leave the regard to other people and just keep trying :)

    BTW: Randy Pausch is someone who I followed quite a bit when I first started messing with VR, before my first job.
  • Yeah, I think if you replace "good taste" with "certain standards" (or good standards) - taste could be personal, but standards are (more) universal. We all know about things that we don't quite like, but we'd all agree are "up to standard". And that is what I think criticism helps with - standards :)
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    Well, I don't really like the term "Good Taste", it works for the comic fine though, because it's meant to be simple and encouraging. But "Good Taste" implies a lot of fuzzy and useless concepts (like different tastes are comparable in value).

    Really what I want is to be aware of what other people like. Taste is all about associations with experiences anyway. If I can figure out what certain other people associate with goodness, and can figure out how to act on that then I'm happy.

    (I know I have kind of unconventional ideas of taste, I'm not asking anyone to think like me, taking myself out of the taste-equation and finding pleasure in pleasing others might seem an odd stance)
    Thanked by 1Bensonance
  • I think the idea around taste vs standards/likes for me is that it's important that the thing be individually contained. You don't sink hours and hours of your time into something that keeps (eventually) disappointing you for anything other than intense personal fascination. The "good" part of that idea (as in "good" taste) means that your fascination is shared by others in some intangible way. Once other people's tastes start identifying something to be fascinated by in your work, you're getting somewhere.

    I'd argue that standards and what other people like in general aren't very important to the process of discovering and developing creative expression in an individual. They're often applied far too discouragingly to any efforts, meaning that improvement is never even admitted to, because universal scales of judgement don't take into account where someone started from.

    I do agree that developing your sense of taste is incredibly important, so that you're aware of what other people like and why, but in a way that's a fascination with the fascinations of others, so that's meta-taste. Which I think is what the original comic was getting at... Because no matter what we might say about studying what people like or don't like, we still personally judge and dismiss a lot of the things that evidence says hordes of people like: Justin Bieber, Kurt Darren, Crocs?

    Taste implies that personal, unjustifiable connection to something that we feel so strongly.
  • If we're all doing things for our own sakes entirely, then taste is all we need. Then it's a matter of building up skills to produce to equal your taste.

    But clearly we're all not in a vacuum, and building games/art/things for ourselves can only have that much appeal (and I'm not even talking about just money matters). We are social beings after all. So standards mean something to us - standards as in quality, shared taste (if tastes are shared, that's a standard), expectations, all play a role.

    So while either of those things (internal - taste, external - standards) won't get you anywhere, it's the venn diagrammatic intersection where we'll really find self-actualisation, not either of those extremes :)

    I dislike extremism :P
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    @Tuism: Yes. That's why I said that when starting out, that personal fascination with something is the important part. Yes, later on you feel super validated when other people become fascinated with what you're doing, but I don't think that starting from the "standards" extreme ever helped anyone make something truly awesome. This is exactly the same thing @BlackShipsFilltheSky means when he says you have to love the thing you're working on, otherwise you're wasting your time.

    I don't really care to argue semantics that much. The entire concept of "taste" is meaningless unless other people are involved. You can't have "good taste" if nobody else judges your tastes, right?

    The goal was to say to people: Don't give up, keep trying!
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    Well I think I have good taste, according to me :P but screw semantics :)

    The point is to start with yourself, keep trying and never take criticism negatively - every crit is a step towards betterment!
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    I really like the semantic debate that's happening here. (Though it isn't the goal of the comic, that's about self improvement through practice and focusing on the improvement as apposed to being discourage by your shortcomings?)

    Which is a great message obviously (smiley face)

    But to continue the derailment.

    Personally I don't talk about standards. I'm not fond of the implication of standardization. It also sort of suggests there are notches on a scale you can hit above and below, and the only scale of value is up or down.

    Whereas it doesn't take into account the huge array of other options that don't fit into one dimension, all the sideways and diagonal and twisty paths.

    In my work, I find it more practical to think of everything as being associative. People like things they associate with pleasure and happiness and good experiences etc. And it is possible to evoke those things in your work. But above all, people like new experiences (or at least, the kind of people I care about in my work place a high value in newness).

    As a tangent to this: I find unfamiliarity really interesting. It doesn't really conform to the concepts of "taste" or "standards" at all. But yet, if executed well, it can be a great draw for players (I think). "Unfamiliarity" could be said to entail a combination of dissonant tastes or something dramatically unique, a result then which defies following one's own taste or standards.

    Hotline Miami, for instance, certainly plays with unfamiliarity by juxtaposing symbols to produce and experience strangely alien and wondrous (I'd suggest). Proteus does this as well, almost purely through aesthetics (as well as it's suspension of traditional game structures).

    ...I guess, to sum up, I'm really espousing Post-Modernism as a framework for designing for resonant and appealing games.

    And I always say: do what makes you happy and fulfilled. If the thing you're doing excites you it probably means that it is also a subject you're intimately familiar with (again, lots of associations in your brain causing pleasant feelings) and by working in that subject you may learn even more and appreciate it even better and in turn improve the thing you're doing and so on. It's the most likely path to a phoenix-like ascent, and so it's always good advice to give, assuming the person you're talking to is curious and ambitious.

    Still watching more Randy Pausch.
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