There’s only one way you’re going to get better at anything, and that’s by being realistic.
Everyone has hopes and dreams. Hopes and dreams are fine. Hopes and dreams can be turned into reality, though, through hard work and discipline. But in order to be most effective, you have to be realistic.
Take a look at your work. It doesn’t matter if you’re an artist, writer, inker, colorist, or editor. Take a look at your work, and then ask yourself if that’s the best you can do. Look for the flaws, so they can be fixed next time around. Put your work up next to the best books on the shelves and ask if your work can compete.
Do yourself a favor: don’t ask your friends and family about what they think about your work. The only way their opinion is valid is if they work in the business. If they don’t, you might as well ask a farm animal what they think about stock prices. They won’t know what they’re looking at, and they’re also invested in your emotional well being. They’re going to lie, so as not to hurt your feelings.
Being realistic means getting professional opinions on the work from people in the business. If your work isn’t as good as it could be, then you have to put in more effort over a length of time in order raise your level. It isn’t automatic. It takes a while to learn a skill, and it takes even longer to hone it so it does what you want, when you want. This isn’t a martial arts flick where years of learning is compressed into a few minutes of a montage and then you’re ready to fight the Unbeatable Bad Guy®. Being realistic is putting in the years of work to find out how you work, what does and doesn’t work for you, and then putting that knowledge and skill to its best use.
There’s no truer statement than the old joke: how do you get to Carnegie Hall?
Practice, man, practice!