“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 a while. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
- Ira Glass
I read this quote over the weekend and I couldn't stop thinking about it ever since. I'm sure that this is something every creative person can relate to, and I find these words immensely inspiring and encouraging. It is true that often I am my own worst critic. I wouldn't go as far as calling myself a perfectionist, but I'm sure about my taste and I have a pretty specific set of standards that I measure my work against. And I'll go ahead and admit that I'm not always completely satisfied with the results of my efforts, especially when it comes to this blog. Raise your hands if you ever went a few days without publishing a single post because no idea that you'd come up with, written down or photographed seemed good enough to go online. (*raising my hand sheepishly*) I'm struggling with this more often than I care to admit.
But you know what? That's completely fine. I'm still learning my craft. And I never want to stop learning. To me, learning, making mistakes, scratching my work completely, deleting my words and starting all over again is the ultimate sign that I'm moving forward. That I'm evolving into a person that I'd love to become. That I'd rather step outside my comfort zone, challenge myself over and over again, stumble and fall, and then get up and try again, than stay safe and comfortable in my own little corner.
And I have Ira Glass to thank for reminding me that great successes and achievements aren't due to magic. We owe them to our own hard work, to the countless hours dedicated to honing our skills and to the refusal to give up. It may seem pretty obvious, but I'm the first to admit that it can be so easily forgotten in our world filled with picture-perfect Instagram photos, envy-inducing Facebook statuses and flawless blog posts.
This is one quote that I'll make sure to keep in mind whenever I doubt myself or my work. I hope we all can do the same.
I wish you all a successful, productive and happy February!