I had an interesting conversation yesterday.
The general question was “What would you rate yourself as a creator on a scale of 1-10?”
It isn’t a question that you ask yourself often, because you just don’t think about it, but there’s always an unconscious comparison to the books being put on the shelves. And if there isn’t, then there should be.
Here’s the thing that got me, though, with the conversation. It didn’t surprise me, but it just reinforced something that I already knew: when you don’t have anything to your name, you tend to think you’re better than you really are.
It was an informal question asked by one creator to some others, and the ones who had credits and made books consistently rated themselves in a midrange (5-7), and those without any credits generally rated themselves pretty high (8 or so). This isn’t to say that there’s anything wrong with thinking you’re good, but there’s a lot of creators out there who think they are much better than they are. All you have to do is take a look at virtually any entry at The Proving Grounds to see how bad a lot of writers are.
Then that extrapolates over to other creators. I’ve been doing weekly reviews, basically of creator-owned material, and there have been extremely slim pickings, and the books I’ve reviewed are often not worth the time it takes to read, let alone write about.
And these are the creators who often think of themselves as an 8 or so.
Creating comics is supposed to be a fun endeavor. I understand that. However, unless you’re a hobbyist, meaning if you’re trying to make an honest go of creating comics for a living, then you have to look at yourself and the work you produce with a critical eye and be brutally honest with yourself. Are the stories you’re working on really that high from a creation standpoint? Everyone thinks they’re baby is beautiful, but can you be objective about it and try to be accurate and honest about what you’ve done?
(And for the record, I rate myself a 6 overall. I believe I’m better than most, but I still have a lot to learn in order to become a better creator and editor. I continue to strive, though.)