Lessons from my 365: Not every design is a winner

Well, doesn't this seem like a good place to start as I consider what lessons I might learn or re-learn from my recently completed "365 Patterns" project? Just because I put pen to paper, brush to canvas, or press the shutter release button on a camera doesn't mean the result is going to be a great work. Consider the following two images. I probably spent about the same amount of time on each, but the one on the left clearly has color issues and just isn't anything too special. The on the right is better: more depth, better positive/negative space relationships, and just generally more engaging.

So, what's to be learned from this confession? I think it's these thoughts:

  • Do prepare to work by taking a few minutes to clear your mind and settle your body. This is my single biggest challenge.
  • Do practice, and in doing so, sometimes work rapidly.
  • Do balance rapid work with slower and more contemplative work. 
  • Don't become overly invested in the result before the process has even begun. "I will now create a successful work of art?" is a burdensome point of beginning at best, and more often than not the first step on the road to disaster.
  • Don't loose sight of the fact that at some point there's greater value in working--regardless of the outcome--than in merely contemplating the work. Spend time with your thoughts, then get out of your head and do something. 
  • Do value the learning that comes from making mistakes and doing work that turns out to be less than expected.