I came across this bit of encouragement from Ira Glass, host and producer of NPR’s This American Life. It’s abridged a bit from a video of his about storytelling and is primarily for writers/broadcasters but certain bits of advice and inspiration, such as this, cross over easily to most of the creative fields. And whether you write, draw, sculpt, sing, dance or play the accordion, one thing is true: You must do a lot of work to get better.
This seems almost too simple and I think that’s why its the kind of thing that is sometimes overlooked by people as they start working in a new field or medium. We all want immediate results, want to have the tangible result of our efforts match that version of it that resides in our mind. But it is never that simple and there’s a wide gap between our desired outcome and reality. As Ira points out, you must do a lot of work to close that gap.
A lot of work.
And that is where most people draw the line. Sometimes it’s just a lack of will and they move on to the next thing, hoping that new thing will meet their need for quicker results. Sometimes it’s just life and a lack of time that keeps them from continuing ahead.
But if you can stick with it, fight past the stumbling blocks and frustrations, you will improve incrementally, getting better and better with more and more effort.
And the better you get the better you will want to be, the more you will push your own personal goalposts out in front of you. In my time working alone in my studio I have spent well over 50,000 hours trying to close that gap and there have been times when I have thought I had reached that point where the reality before me matched the vision in my mind. But I soon realized it wasn’t quite there and I needed to keep at it.
Just keep working and fighting through.
I’ve got to go do just that right now.