Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ira Glass is My Creative Hero

Just when I thought nothing could make me love Ira Glass more:

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners.  I wish someone had 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 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 that 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 finish one piece.  It’s 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 awhile.  You just gotta fight your way through.

Life-altering advice for me, considering I’m in the throes of gap dwelling right now, looking at all the prolific writers around me thinking, “How do they do it?”

Thanks to Ira, I know that the “how” is kind of irrelevant. Knowing “how” isn’t going to give me any peace. All I need to know is that they do it. They fight their way through the awfulness of the gap and get better. And so shall I.

Easier said than done, of course. The inner critic/fire-breathing monster that lives in the gap is powerful and devastating. It feeds greedily on doubt and judgment, gorging itself, knowing that food is abundant. It will never go hungry.

But Ira Glass comes to my rescue, handing me the mighty sword of self-forgiveness. My taste-ful eyes close and I focus on the task at hand. And I start across the divide, swinging as I go, tripping over rocks and blocks along the way, knowing that each painful step brings me closer to home.


  1. he's pretty cool. i think he's related to philip glass?!?

    have you read this?

  2. Yes! They're first cousins once removed. Creative prowess runs in the family, clearly...

    And I love that article - thanks for sharing! :)