I’ve often felt discouraged as a relative beginner in my artistic field, even to the point of despairing at the prospect of never being any good at the art that is my passion. I have picked up my camera again and again with the knowledge that the photo I’ve envisioned will not be what I find when I get home and view my photos on the computer, and as hard as I work in the processing it never *quite* gets there.

The more I take that camera out, however, the closer those images get to what was in my mind’s eye…and I wish my current Self could understand what other strides Future Self will make (but that would be cheating, wouldn’t it?)

The following quote from National Public Radio’s Ira Glass has been blogged/shared a few times already, but it bears repeating for the sake of all artists feeling those “beginner’s blues.”

“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.” – Ira Glass (emphasis mine)

So…I guess I’ll keep fighting.


3 thoughts on “Beginner

  1. literaryitinerary says:

    keep fighting, friend, keep fighting.

    you have something creative and wonderful to offer the world that no one else before or after you will be able to offer.

    i think it’s only natural to be hard on yourself – we are, after all, our own worst critics, but with time, patience and love, we’ll get there: to that creative place that all of us artists strive for.

  2. ed cyzewski says:

    Yes. This is totally true and right on. There will come a day when you look at what you’re doing and you’ll realize that you actually know what you’re doing. It’s a very long, gradual process, but I recall that one day I was proofing a book proposal for someone and I suddenly realized that I knew what I was doing. It took years of failing to get to that point!!!

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