I know all about sunk cost.
We do and do, invest and invest, and create and create.
And then what happens?
We are romantic about the work, we are in love with the stock, and we are attached to our precious art.
The issue with this – the issue with sunk cost – is that none of that investment is worth anything.
Spending a lot of time, and investing a lot of energy, on a painting, essay, poem, or song does not make it great.
Art you have no personal investment in might just be better than the art that you gave everything for.
“Every year the aspiring photographer brought a stack of his best prints to an old, honored photographer, seeking his judgment. Every year the old man studied the prints and painstakingly ordered them into two piles, bad and good. Every year the old man moved a certain landscape print into the bad stack. At length he turned to the young man: “You submit this same landscape every year, and every year I put it on the bad stack. Why do you like it so much?” The young photographer said, “Because I had to climb a mountain to get it.”“
–Annie Dillard, The Writing Life