Ira Glass on the Creative Gap
If you don’t know This American Life, you should.
This message is about how creative people need to really stick with what they are doing. He’s talking to people who work in TV, but it applies to everyone who produces.
A few excerpts:
Most everyone I know who does interesting, creative work went through a phase of years where they had really good taste and they knew what they were making wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be. They knew it fell short.
Everybody goes through that. For you to go through it—if you’re going through it right now, if you’re just getting out of that phase, or if you’re just starting off and you’re entering into that phase—you’ve got to know that’s totally normal. The most important possible thing you could do is do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work. Put yourself on a deadline, so that every week or every month you know you’re going to finish one story. Whatever it’s going to be…
It takes a while. It’s going to take you a while. It’s normal to take a while. You just have to fight your way through that. You will be fierce. You will be a warrior. And you will make things that aren’t as good as you know in your heart you want them to be. And you’ll just make one after another.
On a personal note, I have been writing for years. We don’t even have to count daily writing in online forums since I was 12. This is my third serious blog. I’ve worked on three novels and over a dozen nonfiction titles for general audiences. Years. If you go back to something like my Ken Sharpe writing, you can tell it’s my writing, but it’s terrible.
Just now I feel like I’m getting to the point where I can write something passable. Just now I feel like I am at a level where I can begin to understand how other really strong writers can suck people in with words. In a few years maybe I’ll be as good as they are.
If you’re not happy with your current work—your writing, your art, your business, whatever creative field you’re in—then the best thing you can do is keep doing it, a lot.
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