I found these five words on a piece of paper in Finn’s back pack a couple of weeks ago. I was kind of stunned. He’d been practicing tracing letters and then suddenly this. And so his writing career begins. Or maybe he’ll be a gardener. The point is, he started, and he practiced and practiced and look what happened.
So here’s a little something for my writer/ blogger friends. And my photographer friends. And my designer friends. To the artists among you (ie: everyone, right?)
When I moved to the US I had no job. I was coming from a full time degree and two part time jobs so there was a pretty big shift in the amount of spare time I had. Living in San Diego, there are very few options for an Australian girl with a political science degree who doesn’t want to work in government. The think tanks seem to be all up in northern Cali and I wasn’t going to ask Robbie to move a 5 hour drive north. (A few years later I asked him to move a six hour flight east, but that’s a story for another time.) Apart from third world politics, the only other thing that I ever thought I could stay passionate about every day was writing.
I read a book called Daily Rituals: How Artists Work By Mason Currey that talks about how well known artists throughout history spent their time and how they honed their crafts. What I learned about almost all of the artists that he studied, was that they wrote every single day.
I also read an Ira Glass quote about beginner writers that has stayed with me. You can see it on Vimeo here: Ira Glass on Story Telling:
Here’s an excerpt.
“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.”
I’m in the “fighting through” stage. My “it’s just not that good” period. Sorry about that. But I appreciate you reading my blog. I appreciate this community.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever wondered if you should just quit. And if Ira’s words resonate with you like they do with me.