Mr. Slithy is a Writers of the Future winner in his secrit other life.
Listen to him. He's smart about things.
And so is Ira Glass: "Not enough gets said about the importance of abandoning crap... All video production...all radio production is trying to be crap." (and) "If you're not failing all the time, you're not creating a situation where you can get really lucky."
There was another artist (a musician) quoted on the radio this morning, though I didn't catch the name, who said "The deeper in I get, the further I am from the opposite shore."
And this is also true.
I am good at my job. At this point in time, I'm comfortable in saying that.
I'm not claiming to be one of the best, by any means, but I am secure in my competence to tell a story. That security only just happened recently, I should add, and it's still new and shiny and comforting. Look, I am making progress!
And I just got off a plateau that lasted years, and made everything I did a terrible, agonizing grind. Writing is often fun again lately, and that's a good thing, because barring commercial disaster, I may be stuck with it.
And the more I learn about writing? The more I learn there is to learn. If I lived to be a thousand, I might master this art form.
Then again, I might just find more stuff to learn.
What's interesting is that I can tell what the narrative portion of my brain is working on by what it fixates on. It used to fixate on what others did poorly; that passed, after a while, and now it fixates on what others do well. (And it doesn't have to be writing-related, because writing is like everything else, and one can learn from other disciplines. The current Criminal Minds fixation has a lot to do with wanting to swipe a lot of the techniques by which they handle character and self-contradicting narratives, for example, like the thing where every time a character tells some cute anecdote about his or her past, it's incredibly revealing about who they are. Hotch is the guy who picked out his future wife across a crowded room when he was sixteen, hatched a scheme to get her attention... and is still married to her now. JJ is the girl who can get a room full of FBI profilers to total buy in with an over-the-top tall tale about a slasher at a summer camp.
(So it seems my next narrative project, now that I've gotten control of my prosody, more or less, is getting control of the way I develop character. I do a lot of that unconsciously, and now my brain appears to want to get a handle on it so it can be driven where I want.)
Anyway. Back to Slithy, and Ira Glass.
I would expand, and say, all art is trying to be crap. You have to be aware of that, and keep pushing back, cutting off the bits that slide into crapdom. You have to stay on top of the crap. The crapalanche.
And as for that other thing, buymeaclue says, if you aren't falling off, you aren't riding hard enough.
Staying within one's limits never got art made.