When a creative project I'm working on isn't turning out like I planned, and I start to question myself, this video of Ira Glass (from This American Life) always makes me feel better. He says that it takes a long time to close the gap between your ability and your taste level, and that the only way to improve is to keep working--even if the work you're producing isn't very good.
If you've ever been disappointed by something that you worked very hard on (I think that would be most of us), you might find this video comforting, too! You can read a partial transcript after the jump.
“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.”
Thank you to Design Talk for the transcript.