It is like being back in school taking art class.
The teacher or professor gives the assignment, sets up the still life, then says draw or paint. You know there will be a grade, and you try to convey what you see, but it seems there is something else they are looking for, something else that isn't quite there yet. And I, being the people-pleaser I am, try to think about what they want to see, and pursue that instead. When something turns out the way I like, they say - "okay, do 10 more of the same."
Now, that being said, I know that there is teaching involved here. I know that there is learning to be done. Work to be accomplished and patience, trial and error, technique and skill to be developed. I get that...now. At the time I felt defeated, like a failure.
Each of us, as individuals, need to take inventory of what we know, what we see and feel, and what we have to learn. This can be a difficult task. As I try to think of projects to work on, I think about what is popular right now (not that I keep up with these things), what is the style that I see online, in stores, etc.
I need to Stop. Right. There.
What do I see, what do I know, what am I learning? What do I want to convey to those around me. What is the message that needs to be said, whether it is heard by anyone or not? That is my art. That is my work to accomplish.
That should be my pursuit.