Peaks and Valleys in Creative Life

Oct 25, 2021

This is one of my favorite quotes that always seems to help me keep my chin up:

“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 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.”


I’d go as far as to say that this advice isn’t just for beginners because we all go through cycles in our work. 

We reach a peak and then descend into another valley to reach the next peak. Over and over.

Just when we think we’ve arrived, when our work is finally “good”, there’s a new need for growth and with it growing pains. 

Getting comfortable with that cycle is essential to maintaining a creative life. And of course, like Ira Glass says…so is making lots of work!



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