I read a really interesting article today that I think is worth talking about. The subject was "overcoming learning plateaus".
The general idea behind a learning plateau is this: skill and knowledge are gained in short bursts and the rest (most) of the time you are either not improving or getting worse. This is something I never knew existed. Or at least I never knew existed for other people. As a working creative person this system can be devastating. What you create intimately reflects who you are as a person. When I sit down to make the same wallet I've made countless times before and I can't even get the easy parts to come out right, what does that say about me. Am I doomed to failure?
The answer is that I've hit a plateau. The part I always seem to forget is the week before when I sat down and dreamed up a new design in fifteen minutes that I was really happy with, or the morning I somehow accomplished a day's worth of work before lunch. On those days I think "Man, I'm so great. Everything is just falling into place. It's like destiny is showing me the path." Then a week later I'll spend a morning screwing up basic measurements and decide that I'm going to have to live on the street.
I think plateaus are important to creative people. They keep you humble and give you time to look back on your progress so far. The solution I've come up with is to learn to accept them. All you can really do is keep slogging on anyway. You just have to slow down and keep trying to climb up and over. Eventually you'll be on your way to greater heights and wondering what the problem was.
I'd love to hear other peoples thoughts on this. The original article can be found here for your perusal.