So a few days ago I've finally finished my first map for Immersive Poetry. Before that, I was mostly in the virtual back seat, giving ideas, suggesting reference pictures and sharing thoughts. In the meantime, I've been slowly working on something I can call my own, something I could later be proud of, if even a little. Why slowly? Well, mostly because I lacked self-confidence (I still do, but it's a little bit better now).
When you're new in something, you tend to be very careful about what you do. What if you make a mistake? What if you make a mistake and fail to see it in time before somebody else notices? What if you make a mistake that you won't be able to fix? Often questions like these are overwhelming and at some point it's all you can think about. When you're constantly thinking of how to not make a mistake, even a tiny one can lead to massive frustration - and suddenly you don't even want to keep going anymore. This is what I've felt a few times while I was working on the new level, and I'm sure I'm not the only person to ever feel this way.
Obviously, this is completely unacceptable if you want to make it work. Bashing yourself every time you make a minor mistake isn't very productive and quite frankly, it's not just hurting yourself, it's also hurting whoever you're working with, because they have to deal with the consequences. And the more people you're working with, the more you'll hurt if your emotions get in the way of your ability to work within a schedule and given conditions.
When I had the time to think about this experience and analyze the reasons as to why I was so incredibly harsh on myself, I realized that it's all because I haven't seen enough screw-ups made by other people, those who've been working in the industry for way longer than myself.
Honestly, how often do you hear programmers saying something like "oh, I misspelled something in the code and it completely messed up the project I'm working on", or a modeler saying "yeah, I had to remake this one several times before I got it just right", or anything like that? Not to a group of friends or in a private conversation, but publicly, for everyone to see? I know I haven't heard this enough to actually realize that all those amazing people I'm looking up to also make mistakes.
Seriously, it may sound silly, but I thought that the only reason I'm making mistakes is because I lack the experience and I'm just not good enough. That's all true - I do lack the experience, I'm new to this, it's all a massive learning curve for me, and I am obviously not nearly as good as someone with years of work behind - how could I be, I'm only starting my journey. But the one thing I really needed to hear in times I was frustrated to literal tears was that anyone, with any level of experience, can screw up just as bad as I can.
Hearing and reading about other people screwing things up made me realize I was being way too harsh on myself instead of taking advantage of my mistakes and learning from them. You know, just like any smart person would? Nothing could make me get back to work faster than realizing I'm not the only person having this problem and definitely not the last one. A very obvious and simple truth, yet so incredibly helpful. So helpful that I went from almost thinking I could quit to focusing my attention on what needs to be done and finishing what I've started. I still don't think much of myself and my skills, but at least I'm no longer berating myself for every tiny misstep.
I guess what I'm trying to say here is that you shouldn't be ashamed to admit your mistakes. Anyone can screw up. A newbie who's only learning the basics and a professional with years of experience that anyone would be honored to look up to. Making mistakes is frustrating, discouraging and sad. So sad that sometimes hearing that someone else has done the same and it didn't stop the Earth from spinning is the one thing that can make you get back to work and finish what you've started. Saying "yeah, I screw up all the time, and so will you, and it's okay!" can be a virtual lifesaver for someone who just needs a little bit of motivation. To everyone who ever admitted they're not always perfect in what they do - thank you!