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Monday, January 9, 2012

Spotlight: Words of Encouragement

Ira Glass is the consummate storyteller, one of those people who's so good at what he does he makes it look deceptively easy.  His words here apply to any creative endeavor, so I thought I'd share them here, with all the wonderful creative people who write and read this blog.  We can be so impatient with ourselves when we're learning new things, so quick to give up.  I chide my kids for this tendency even while recognizing it in myself.  It's like Dora's 5 year old said last week, "I want to be good at drawing WITHOUT practicing."  Adults, and even older kids, would know better than to say that out loud, but isn't it what we secretly feel?

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

I've transcribed the words as best I could for those, like me, who may be reading this feed off their phone, and may not be able to watch the video:

"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, and we get into it because we have good taste, but it's like there's a gap.  That for the first couple years that you're making stuff, what you're making isn't so good, okay?  It's not that great.  It's trying to be good, it has ambition to be good, but it's not quite that good.  But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, your taste is still killer, and your taste is still good enough that you can tell, that what you're making is kind of a disappointment to you, you know what I mean? A lot of people never get past that phase, a lot of people at that point they quit.  And the thing I would just like to say to you with all my heart is that most everybody I know who does interesting, creative work, they went through a phase of YEARS, where they had really good taste, and they could tell what they were making wasn't as good as they wanted it to be, they knew it fell short, it didn't have the special thing that we wanted it to have.  And, the thing what to do is...everybody goes through that, and for you to go through it, if you're going through it right now, if you're just getting out of that phase, you've gotta know it's totally normal, and the most important possible thing you can do is do a lot of work, do a huge volume of work, put yourself on a deadline so every week or every month you know you're going to finish one story.  Because it's only by actually going through a volume of work that you are actually going to catch up and close that gap.  And the work you're making will be as good as your ambitions.  In my case, I took to figure out how to do this than anybody I've ever met.  It's takes awhile, it's going to take you awhile, it's normal to take awhile and you just have to FIGHT. YOUR WAY. THROUGH THAT."

I love the point he makes, that if you're starting a creative endeavor, and you can tell that what you're doing is inferior, then great!  It shows you have good taste.  And I love his advice on how to cross that gap, how to get to the place where your output matches the vision in your head.  I watched it twice and made all my kids watch it, too.  Many thanks for one of my new favorite blogs, Amber June Studios, for posting it.