Creative Wisdom: The Gap Between Art and Taste

March 14, 2012
This quote from Ira Glass, the host of the radio program “This American Life” speaks to something I think I’m STILL going through. It’s something of an achievement gap. I like my work – I just think it has a ways to go before it lives up to the potential I imagine it to have.
Signature by Lyric Kinard
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.”

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  • Reply
    Margaret Price
    April 30, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Words of wisdom………..thank you Lyric.

  • Reply
    March 15, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Isn't that a great bit of wisdom? It's really helped keep me from getting too discouraged, when my work doesn't match my taste.

  • Reply
    Julie-Anne McDonald
    March 15, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    It's awfully easy to look at great work with an eye that is beyond your hands and to give up, thinking "I will never be able to do that". The trick, and it isn't a trick really, is just to keep on keeping on. Looking back at early attempts often helps me see how far I have come. Like weeding, if you face what you have accomplished the work that still needs doing doesn't seem so overwhelming.

  • Reply
    Crooked Gulley Art Quilts - Mary Couch
    March 15, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Lyric, Thank for the kick in the pants I needed. I am improving, but I need to keep going and understand this process you've shared.
    Hugs from Mary

  • Reply
    March 14, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    great post! encouraging!

  • Reply
    ms lottie
    March 14, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    I was at a workshop with Jeanette De Nicolis Meyer on the weekend and she said essentially the same thing. "From the work, comes the work." I better go make something!

  • Reply
    March 14, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    I LOVE this quote! It has to be true because it explains everything perfectly. Time to get to work!

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