“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. 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, 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 its 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.”
Ah, Ira Glass. I am in the middle of a handful of new creative endeavors and, shall I say, experiments? I have very high expectations for my work and so experimenting can be both exhilarating and uncomfortable because I want the work I do to be great right off the bat but, alas, the creative process is just that.....a process.
I agree with Ira that it is important to do a lot of creative work. To get our hands dirty over and over again. To stick with it. To experiment, play, fail, throw it away, begin again, learn and move forward. This is how we hone our crafts, how we figure out what is actually meaningful and good. I would also add that it is important to keep the vision of what you want to create in your mind and to remember that every moment you devote to what is longing to be created through you is a moment spent letting life know that you are serious about this.
So, if you make something and it is not yet up to your standards, do not become discouraged. Instead, try to view it as a necessary step towards your standards. We live in a time where things are very instantaneous, but, real art does not work that way. It needs to be nurtured, sculpted, birthed. Whatever it is that you are working on now in your life, whether it's your yoga practice, an essay, a painting, your health, your most important relationship or your brand new business be patient with yourself and stick with it. Of course you want to be the most amazing writer, parent, husband, designer, therapist, coach, traveler, chef that ever lived because you really care. We know this about you and this is why we need you to not give up when the going gets tough. You are MORE than worth the effort it takes to stick with your art and the world really needs intentional work from the hands and minds of thoughtful and brave human beings.