Taste

. 2 min read

My favourite quote on creativity, by Ira Glass:

“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.”

Your taste is what will make you brilliant. It takes a while for your ability to match your taste.

My comedy teacher Dan also added,

When you get better, it's easier to see what's good.

Brilliant beginners have two problems:

  • We're not satisfied, because our ability is below our taste
  • We can't appreciate what we're doing well, which causes more disappointment

What can you do?

  • Give yourself a deadline and keep working at it. I'm currently completing a challenge to write 120 blog posts (this is post #97), and I've recently started a 100 comedy sketch challenge (10 so far)
  • Find someone great to point out what you're already doing well

Taste is what will make you brilliant. You'll soon be as good as you want to be. Don't give up now.

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash.