Giving Thanks (for good advice)

Strong words of encouragement for all new writers from Ira Glass, so let’s give some thanks for them.

I can personally vouch that it also works this way for music, photography, and all the other arts one starts from scratch (which is all of them, of course).

12 comments

  1. This is part of the reason I ended up going down writing instead of music. The physicality meant I really wasn’t going to get to the standard I wanted to play at.

    1. I have a musical background, but when I took up the violin in my 30s to play Scandinavian trad fiddle music (long story) I knew that it would be too late in my life to become a “real” violinist. All I wanted to achieve was “village fiddler” level. And that I did. The rewards I got for that, of deep knowledge in a tradition, and the ability to play usefully for dances and with others, became more important to me than the “pure” naive performance values of my original fear, as if I were aiming at a recording. https://bluerose.karenlmyers.org

      In the process of trying to achieve a goal I discovered I became much more realistic about the different flavors or variations of that goal, which I could not have perceived if I hadn’t tried. For example, I can teach “real” violinists a lot about a genre without achieving the same performance goals that they can in classical repertoire.

      Depends on what your goals are, and what they transform into, once you try… It takes spine to get past the “I suck at this!” stage, especially when you have to do it in public (e.g., music) vs private (e.g., writing). So, it’s not just the Ira Glass formulation above — it’s also becoming confident that your detailed expectations of the initial goal might well become more sophisticated (and achievable) once you jump into the arena. At the very least, you will understand a great deal more about the field, just as an appreciator.

      1. That’s true, but where I wanted to be would have been about 2-4 hours of practice every day just to reach and maintain. 🙂

        It was not that it was unreachable; rather the time investment vs how much I wanted it wasn’t worth the trade, so I’m going in other directions.

  2. FASCINATING!! NOW I understand why I keep trying to come back to enscriving and failing —–well, not EXACTLY failing but rather not improving (by my lights). THIS will chanfge MUCH!!

    Thank You for this set of thoughts.

    Night driver.

  3. In my earliest work I had (what I think were) some interesting plots and zingy dialogue, but when I went back to edit them several years later I was overall appalled by what I found and had to rewrite the entire thing nearly from nothing. Now I’m rewriting that (or at least mercilessly editing it) to release next year as an indie author and I’m still finding things I’m embarrassed to put out and I’m having trouble figuring out where my series’ starting point will be. But at the very least I’m confident I’ve gotten much, much better than those early stories. What a difference 12 or 13 years makes.

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