The Work

Read the quote below. I think it’s a true statement. I know this is the way it was for me. I fell in love with music in my teens. It took me years to create music as good as the music I loved. It was worth the years of loops and failures.

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

photo credit: dub_ee

via nprfreshair

This entry was written by Oliver Chesler, posted on May 4, 2011 at 4:45 am, filed under song writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.


11 Responses to “The Work”

  1. He is so on point. The in-between is such an awful place to be. I have this urge to create something as good as I’ve heard/seen and yet I cannot and it’s totally humbling, frustrating and oftentimes maddening. He’s right. I do want to quit. Many times. But something keeps me going. The hope of that one day… one song… one good piece of art that may come out of me. That keeps me going.

  2. Calvin says:

    thank you for that, very thoughtful

  3. What a great quote! I’ve been through those phases and I know I will continue to go through more. Thanks for posting this. I find it very comforting and reassuring to know that others share the same struggles. By the way, I really enjoy your blog and check it regularly. Thanks for doing this!

  4. wmrandth says:

    I highly recommend Seth Godin’s book The Dip on the topic. Very insightful.

  5. Papernoise says:

    Totally agree with this! I’m actually still working on the “being satisfied” thing, but from my experience I would add one more thing: focus on one thing, and try to excel in that one, a mistake I’ve made in the past (not too much past to be honest) is to try to be the as good as my expectations wanted me to in just too many fields…

  6. donwan says:

    thanks for posting that, it`s really good constructive encouragement.

  7. wow. so yes. to this. just yes.

  8. This is so true! As with just about everything, the more we do it, the better we become. Well said.

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