Most of the time, that thing you’re working on for hours and hours works out just fine, really well, perhaps exceptionally.
But the work is a slog and there’s no confidence in it. You’re sure it’s terrible and that soon everyone will know you’re not very good. The longer the project drags on and the closer the deadline looms the worse it feels and the farther away looks completion. You lose sleep, say mean things to yourself, and finally convince yourself that complete mediocrity is preferable to incomplete excellence. That’s how you sleep.
It has to be this way, right? Maintaining a rigorously critical posture to your own work makes it better, doesn’t it?
Maybe the nuance is that the more work you make and share the more that work is judged against a productive standard, the standard of your own body of work, and not the standard of what everyone else is doing.