Below is a quote from Ira Glass which has really resonated with me. Ira Glass is an American public radio personality and the host and producer of a TV show.
Lately I have been doubting my writing strategy of simply writing as much as I can. Thousands and thousands of words. Every time I write I know that it is ok but it feels like it’s falling short / not quite there yet. So I pull my stories apart and look at what didn’t work. To date I have had various issues with plots, lifeless characters, conflict and story arcs. I then start writing again. This is how I learn.
People think I am nuts. This year alone I have clocked up 65k words. This strategy is hard, punishing and at times makes me question myself.
I read this quote and everything fell into place.
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, and I really wish somebody had told this to me.
All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But it’s like there is this gap. For the first couple years that you’re making stuff, what you’re making isn’t so good. It’s not that great. It’s trying to be good, it has ambition to be good, but it’s not that good.
But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you’re making is kind of a disappointment to you. A lot of people never get past that phase. They quit.
Everybody I know who does interesting, creative work they went through years where they had really good taste and they could tell that what they were making wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be. They knew it fell short. Everybody goes through that.
And if you are just starting out or if you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can 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. It is only by going through a volume of work that you’re going to catch up and close that gap. And the work you’re making will be as good as your ambitions.
I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It takes awhile. It’s gonna take you a while. It’s normal to take a while. You just have to fight your way through that.
I am simply closing the gap and it is my ‘killer taste’ that disappoints me – sigh! I just have to keep fighting my way through.
James Clear has written a fabulous article titled ‘What Every Successful Person Knows But Never Says’ on this quote from Ira Glass. He talks about accepting that it is a long struggle to create something noteworthy.
‘For any skill there is always a gap between being an apprentice and being a craftsman. The apprentice has the taste but not the skill. The craftsman has the taste and the skill’ – James Clean.
It is about showing up and doing the work. I will keep on with my strategy of closing the gap.
Have a great day and keep fighting writers!