sarahkeenihan

Day 235. Killer taste

In April 2013 on April 4, 2013 at 2:21 pm

taste

Until yesterday, I’d never heard of Ira Glass, journalist and producer of This American Life.

But then Fee Plumley alerted me to this quote of Ira’s, taken from a verbal presentation on storytelling:

“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.”

This captures exactly what ScienceforLife.365 represents for me.

At the outset, back in August 2012, I hoped that by forcing myself to create a written post on science every day I would see improvements in my confidence, my writing skills and my capacity to choose topics that people connected with.

I’ve certainly improved on all those fronts, and probably others that I’m not aware of. And yet, I’m not satisfied. I think overall my taste still far exceeds my skills.

I have 130 days left.

[image thanks to animantis on flickr]

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