Ira Glass, that distinctive voice on This American Life, has a video manages to distil into words a process that I’ve been observing for a long time about taste and the creative process:
Basically, there’s a disconnect between the ability to recognise good works (taste) and producing good works (talent).
There’s this gap. For the first couple years, when you’re making stuff, what you’re making is not that good. You’re trying to make it good but it’s really not that good. But your taste is still killer, and you’re taste is good enough that you can tell that what you’re making is a disappointment to you. And a lot of people quit at this stage.
So what’s the solution? How do we get over that hump? Well, first you need to realise that everyone goes through that phase and you just need to tough it out.
The most important possible thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline, it’s best if you have someone who’s waiting for work from you, someone who’s expecting it from you. It doesn’t even matter if they’re someone who pays you, but that you’re in a situation where you have to turn out the work. Because it’s only by actually going through a volume of work that you can catch up and achieve your ambitions.
Currently, blogging is a lot like that for me. Nothing I write is ever just quite good enough to meet my approval. But, in the end, you have to just accept this and publish rather than condemn a post to death via endless rounds of editing.
Here’s to hoping all this writing will actually improve…