taken from “Ira Glass – Improving Your Craft,”
Ira Glass of PRI’s This American Life,
Almost nobody starts out great at their craft. It takes work. I have to remind myself of this all the time, and remember again and again as I try new things. Most of the time, I am still hoping my work will someday be nearly as good as my ambitions.
What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.
But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.
It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.
Ira Glass was talking about video production, but we could apply his words to our own creative work. It is only through trying new things and challenging ourselves in our art and crafts that we become better at what we do.
This week’s challenge is to challenge yourself. Try something new in your art or craft – a new pattern, a new stitch, a new technique. It is the only way to grow!