I'm sure some of my former students and readers will be rolling their eyeballs if they read this -- oh no, here we go again! But yes. I don't see how intelligent people can conduct any part of their lives without self-evaluation. Does this pair of jeans make me look fat? Why do I always end up going out with losers? Can we afford to remodel the kitchen? Should I rat out my co-worker who's sneaking money out of petty cash? If I make this recipe again should I use less rutabaga? How should I invest my 401(k)? Is this art any good?
But if you're serious about your art, or wonder whether you should get more serious about it, then it may deserve a more formal process. Here's mine. I suggest you review a just-completed work on four counts:
-- What you liked or thought was successful
-- What you disliked or thought was unsuccessful
-- What technical issues or problems you had
-- Decision points where you had to choose between equally appealing alternatives, and what alternatives you rejected
Then you use these answers to plan your next work:
-- Do more of what was successful
-- Don't do what was unsuccessful
-- Try to solve or minimize the technical problems
-- Try one or more of the alternatives you haven't used yet (you may go back to earlier pieces to find rejected alternatives to try this time)
Before you start a new work, define conceptually what you are planning to accomplish. Think about how it fits into your body of work, whether it extends a current series and if so how, or whether there is a reason to do something outside a current series. (Just playing is a valid reason, as long as you don't do it all the time.) If you can't describe this clearly, maybe you shouldn't start.