How To Be Human: Fail at creating things you like

ira glass

I heard a great song the other day.

It resonated with me so deeply. I loved it a lot.

Seemed like all the instruments, vocals, high-, mid- and low-tones meshed together in a way that could not be more perfect.

I wanted to create something like that for other people too. Write something that connects with people so strongly that they obtain “the feels.” Or choreograph a piece to a song that when people are watching they immediately “get it.”

“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.” — Ira Glass

How many times have we written something we’ve spent so much time on, only to read through it and discover it’s literary shit?

How many times have we painted or drew something so lovingly, we thought that when it was finished it would change the world; but then when you step back and look at it you cringe with embarrassment?

How many times have we been in the process of creation, only to stop and say to ourselves that it’s not how we want it to be?

Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed.

Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star because his editor felt that he “lacked imagination and good ideas.”

Steven Spielberg was rejected by the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts multiple times.

An exec wrote in one of Fred Astaire’s first screen tests: “Can’t sing. Can’t act. Slightly balding. Can dance a little.”

Vincent Van Gogh managed to sell only ONE painting when alive. Everyone thought his works were rubbish.

Sir James Dyson went through 5,126 failed prototypes before succeeding in developing his vacuum cleaner.



Forget about creating good shit. Just create something, and share it with the world. Create a huge volume of work. And if your creations are failures; well, that’s what being human is like.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s