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
My first freelance piece was published on The Atlantic’s Health Channel this week.
It felt insanely gratifying to have a story idea/passion project that had been kicking around in my head for quite awhile see the light of day, in some form, even if not in perfect form, even if it could have used some more editing.
But initial euphoria gave way to self-loathing. I felt myself turning into the insecure/social-media/click-and-Facebook-share obsessed monster the internet tries its darndest to turn us all into. Sure, I fight this kind of thinking by disposition all the time. But I do think there’s still something to be said for The Internet Tries To Bring Out The Crazy In Us All (sometimes).
The best thing I can do is just get back and do a lot of work. Here’s to closing the gap. Onwards.