The Taste Gap – Why Everything You Make Sucks.

You know what you like. We naturally form an opinion about everything we consume, consciously or subconsciously, as we form a ‘taste’ for things. For many people embarking on a creative endeavour this can highlight the differences between things you enjoy, and your own creations.

This difference is known as the ‘taste gap.’ You might love to read novels, but your own fiction writing is cliché. You might love listening to Pavarotti, but people leave the room when you start singing. That dodgy spice rack, that first burnt pancake. Having the knowledge to judge your efforts as poor, without the knowledge on how to make something better can be really disheartening.

Getting over the taste gap can take some humility. Bear in mind that everyone’s first try at something was usually awful:

credit: Richard Simpson

The key to success is to give yourself a safe space to ‘fail.’ If you want to share your first creations, find someone you trust who cares for you. Even just the process of sharing will give you a fresh perspective on your work.

If you can find a mentor or teacher to help you review your creative practice, you will get feedback on what parts of your work don’t work as well, and they can help highlight the technical aspects that aren’t immediately apparent when you’re consuming that medium.

When talking about anything creative it can be helpful to follow an iterative process, both for individual works, and for your own abilities. Try following and repeating these steps:

Create: Make something

Review: Judge and/or have others judge your creation

Reflect: Think about how successful you were, and highlight which parts need improvement

Plan: Talk to a mentor or research ways to improve your key points of interest.

You can repeat these steps with a single work to improve it, but it can also be beneficial in the long term start something new. Every time you review and reflect you are given the chance to highlight something specific you can improve on.

If you can stick with the process of creation, you will learn the skills required to close the gap and start making things exactly to your taste!

If you’re interested in learning more about the creative process try ‘The War of Art’ by Stephen Pressfield. Any purchase made through this link helps support this blog. Thanks for reading!

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