What Writers Can Learn From Ira Glass #writers #amwriting #SundayBlogShare

 

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Photo: StockSnap.

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.

—Ira Glass

 

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!

 

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I am a blonde writer of romantic comedy fiction.

29 thoughts on “What Writers Can Learn From Ira Glass #writers #amwriting #SundayBlogShare

  1. It may feel wasteful, but it’s a great strategy – write and pull apart what works and what doesn’t, learn and move on, write better. Unfortunately, I see so many of us get impatient and send out works which are not really ‘ripe’ yet… (me included)

    1. Yes you are right about the impatience. It’s the constant fight against the ‘I want it now’ desire. Once again…it’s not easy being a writer – sigh!

  2. Great post. However, I find it tragically misleading, as it implies you can someday reach a point where your ambitions will be met. Personally, I doubt that ever happens. The more proficient you become, the more refined your taste. You will always struggle yo perfect your art, whether you’ve been at it for an hour, 10,000 hours or a lifetime.

    Which is actually a good thing. Were that not the case, what’d be the fun in it? 🙂

  3. This is 100% true. Cursed good taste and stellar work habit, why couldn’t you just let me be content with meh. My meh is still better than most’s none-existent, except for those times it really, really wasn’t. You know those times. The times when you wanted to burn your entire computer down to the ground and wash your eyes out with rubbing alcohol after reading some drivel you couldn’t blame on anyone but yourself. Shhhh, self, let’s forget those times ever happened and get back to work.

  4. What an amazing post! It is so true! The book that I started out with as a first time writer, isn’t the same book I have today. It has gone through so much editing, that although the characters have remained the same, things had to be changed. They didn’t start off great. Even now, I still edit, because only in putting in the work will they become great.

    My second book has already started off (pre-editing) better than my first. The hope is that the more I write, and the more books that come from me, the better each will be in turn. The better they start, the less editing they will need once they’re written. Loved this post!

    Julianne
    Ink & Stitches – http://blog.jhwinter.com

  5. I quite literally think of that Ira quote every day. It is taking me YEARS to close that gap between my great taste and my skill level. But the only way to close it is to keep writing.

  6. That’s one thing I wish I was taught taking Creative Writing classes in college. I struggled with quitting writing because I felt I wasn’t getting anywhere; like my stories were no good. The truth was they were no good, but that is a good thing because you can improve upon them. I wish I learned that sooner.

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