• Jabe Stafford

Break Out Of The Suck Cycle

Don't you just love it when your work sucks?

Dumping rumploads of time into learning your craft and producing brilliant art feels friggin’ good.

Then you learn some more, create more art, and BOOM!

Your old stuff sucks shark dick.

You’re not alone.

Every creator out there has produced material that sucks more fish dong than they’d ever care to admit. Know how they broke the suck cycle? By learning and returning.

Learn and return.

Create, then take a break and branch out. Feed your brain some stuff you’ve always wanted to feed it. Devour some podcasts on subjects you’ve been curious about. Watch some classic movies and some abhorrently bad ones. You’ll learn as much from the brilliant material as you will from the stuff that publicly sucks shark dick.

Then return and apply what you learn. Make the art more stunning than you used to be able to. Write that story better by doing the good shit you learned and avoiding the bad shit you’ve seen.

Breaking the suck cycle takes time and persistence. It takes a whole lot of experiences, creation, and other people to stitch the ugly material into a masterwork. And you WILL make a masterwork. Just gotta make some nasty work first.

Two things about that nasty work:

One - It’s okay to leave behind the odiferous pile of crap you created long ago. So long as you find the gems among the turds and use ‘em later.

Two - For every masterwork your favorite author made, there’s either a dozen nasty works, or a dozen years behind sculpting those turds into words.

You just don’t see those turds because you got no time-travel capability. And because Ms. Bestseller Geniusface doesn’t tour bookstores shouting, “Look at this 200,000 word epic tentacle romance I made ten years ago.”

Books on the shelf at the bookshop are like every social media network. You only see the highlight reels. Somewhere there’s a manuscript where Marie Lu or Blake Crouch wrote about a shark that thought it was a porn star and sought to get a bj. (Or some equally embarrassing equivalent.)

Hell, I wrote something that embarrassing too at one point.

No, you can’t see it.

So get your rump out there and make some sucky work. Your next one will be better because you learned some lessons, some tricks, and some patterns. The next one will be even more amazing. That’s how you reach the dream of publishing, selling art, or being featured in a journal or museum.

Don’t you love it when your work sucks?

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