At first, you have no preferences - to one who can't read, how could they choose one book over another (besides its cover, text:picture ratio, size, ... just talking about text here)? Soon enough, they start being able to understand individual works on their own. Later on, they'll develop a vocabulary for talking about works. It is about this time that preferences start to be made. Now, we get to the fun part - critiquing works. You may start to discern between works and have particular "justifications" for your reasoning - the contrast is too low, not enough time spent on character development, thoughts not following a logical order.
At this point, you can develop no more, and be a reasonable critic. But to be a good creative, we must go one step further - recognising what a better version of the work would be, and making that better version.
- You have no preferences.
- You develop preferences.
- You develop justifications for those preferences.
- (maybe) You are able to improve your work to better match your preferences.
Thought path: Listening to one of the Back to Work (podcast) episodes -> searching for "skill vs taste" -> Model Mayhem -> Ira Glass on Storytelling (part 3 of 4)