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Ira Glass on Storytelling

See. Spot. Steal!

I couldn’t help but do so when I discovered What Every Successful Person Knows, But Never Says by James Clear. The post profiles Ira Glass’ and describes his struggle to create, This American Life, one of the most popular public radio shows of all time!

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, and I wish somebody had said this to me.

All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But it’s like there is this gap. For the first couple years that you’re making stuff, what you’re making isn’t so good. It’s not that great. It’s trying to be good, it has the ambition to be good, but it’s not that good.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you’re making is kind of a disappointment to you. A lot of people never get past that phase. They quit.

Everybody I know who does interesting, creative work they went through years where they had really good taste, and they could tell that what they were making wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be. They knew it fell short. Everybody goes through that.

And if you are starting out or are still in this phase, you’ve got to know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that you know you’re going to finish one story every week or every month. Only by going through a volume of work will you catch up and close that gap. And the work you’re making will be as good as your ambitions.

I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It takes a while. It’s gonna take you a while. It’s normal to take a while. You just have to fight your way through that.

Ira Glass

The transcript above is from this video:

And if you found the above fascinating, you should check out Ira Glass’ super-short five-part course (well, sort of, but it’s worth its weight in gold) on storytelling.

I hope you found this valuable. If you did, share it with someone who might need it.