Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mind the (creativity) Gap

Jodi from Biscuits and Bobbins shared this quote with me and I love it so much I just have to pass it on!

Ira Glass of PRI’s This American Life talks about creativity, and absolutely kills it (via these wonderful transcriptions from the Design Talk blog):

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.”

I think these are such excellent point to remember - to be patient with ourselves as we learn and grow - to keep on working even though we want to quit. There also seems to be an unspoken component which is to focus - the more you practice the same craft - the better you'll get at it. I struggle with being interested in far too many things to be as good as I'd like to be at any one of them - I'm trying to narrow my focus. I also am frequently frustrated with the outcome of my work, but as I keep on working I find that my projects are pleasing me more and more. It's pushing through the frustration with kindness, patience and perseverance that seems to be key. Always good things to be reminded of on this creative journey, whatever your particular creative path might be.

Keep working! Hang in there! Trust that showing up and doing the work will get you where you want to go. Also, getting a little work done each day still counts! A great reminder for people with toddlers, or full-time jobs or any other life that keeps you busy :-)

And thanks again to Jodi for this fantastic share - go check out her blog full of lovely work and yummy treats!


  1. Thanks for the sweet shout out Darcy, and thanks for the encouraging words to "keep on keeping' on"!

  2. That quote is absolute brilliance! It describes exactly where I am right now, and definitely encourages me to keep at it. Very cool.

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