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
Every morning I stare at myself in the mirror knowing my job is to fill the canvas of life with good actions, to make the world and the people around me better. I stare, flagellating myself for growing chubby, hoping the strength to do this comes before the doubt born of the fear of falling short.
Living up to the standards I have set for myself at times is like being haunted by a ghost. There is no bigger disappointment than getting down to life and by the end, realising you wasted time chasing shadows. It is the endless strive to be consistently better and most importantly, the infinite effort against the person you were yesterday.
One of the hardest lessons when struggling to be better, and it is a struggle, is learning not to revel in applause. Applause is addictive. You become a slave to the approval of others, trying to please them and not working to be better because, well, it is worth it.
There have been many days I have fought with thoughts of acceptance and approval. It is a dangerous place to be. Once my actions are determined by them, for them, and not myself and my values, I am doomed. And there are many days I have been doomed.
I am learning once you decide you will live in the world, you decide what living a good life is. The best advice I have been given is to just do the work of being human and not be afraid it is not good enough. Doubt less. Silence the ghosts.