wisdom from Mr. Ira Glass

wisdom from Mr. Ira Glass

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.

— Ira Glass (via NPR Fresh Air)

I really like this quote… often people expect genius right away. sometimes in themselves, sometimes in others – but the reality is it take a LOT OF WORK. sure there are the rare few with innate gifts who just automatically get it. but those people are few and far between. for everyone else, even those with “talent” it takes time.

you have to DO THE WORK.

keep writing, keep practicing, keep making short films, keep drawing, keep riding. whatever your professional or creative output is you need to dedicate yourself for the long haul.

it’s a similar line of thought to Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000 hour” theory. that in order to achieve success in any field, you must spend 10,000 hours practicing that task. in his book Outliers he talks about the Beatles. but you don’t have to think about pop stars. think about craftsmen and artisans that spend their early life as apprentices BEFORE taking on their roles.

it took them time and practice and dedication to achieve mastery.

so it would behoove us to expect our ventures to require the same. (imho of course =)


what about you all – have you seen this in your own work? maybe in the work of your friends & peers?


1 Comment
  • GG
    Posted at 13:54h, 07 May Reply

    It is surprising how things I created 10 years ago looked good at the time, but now I can see the artistic immaturity in them. I just keep creating, exploring new ideas, and try not to be too critical along the way.

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