I don’t have the guts or the misguided enthusiasm anymore to call it research, so I’ll level with you and call a spade a spade. During my, now, very regular bouts of procrastination I tend to stumble upon more blogs than my poor humanoid brain should ever have to try to comprehend in one sitting. During one of these… let’s go with lapses, I discovered an amazing blogger, writer, comedian, and just all around hilarious guy that goes by the name of Jason Good. You can find his website HERE.
Now, I come from a humongous family that even makes the word humongous seem rather puny, so reading his posts put a perpetual knowing smile on my otherwise lackluster, seven-and-a-half-more-hours-left-of-work face. The comic relief got me every time and, if one chose to, you could easily get lost reading post after post just like every normal human being says they’re going to eat one more thin mint Girl Scout cookie but always ends up going for a second and a third, until you’re left staring at an empty box and blaming your brother. No? Just me? Whatever, I admit it. I feel no shame.
Okay, well now that I’ve ranted about this guy’s amazing talent with words, I guess I better get to my point. While stalking his bio or, as I like to think of it, trying to figure out if we have similar awesomeness levels (we don’t, I’m very sadly lacking) I came across something that slapped me so hard in the face, you would have thought I was in a teen movie and had just gotten severely served.
But I wasn’t and, instead, I was left staring like a freakazoid at my computer screen, reading the same sentences over and over. An activity that I will now invite you to join in on.
“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.”
Now read it again.
And again, but a little bit more slowly this time.
And again for one last hurrah!
You got it?
Okay, now I’ll continue with my rant…
The less animated, slightly happier, and way more patient side of me tells me that, if anything, reading this passage should encourage me – not disappoint. Why? Because I’m growing. When I look at some of my earlier finished works, I’m stunned by how horribly bad they are. Yet, in them, I can see so much potential. Then I’ll look at more recent work and I know that nobody can say, with true conviction, that I haven’t improved as a writer. Because I have.
Before I ever became a writer, I was a reader and not just a fly-by-night reader. I was and still am a passionate devourer of books. I weep for some characters. Laugh my bum off for others. Then I repeat over and over again until people think I’ve gone crazy. And that’s why I originally started writing. Because I loved the stories told by my favorite authors and my only dream was to create something as wonderfully amazing as the work that they showed me could be done. So I set off on a goal to accomplish writing something as equally brilliant as my favorite books, doing so by first emulating my favorite authors’ writing styles before then moving on to discover my own voice.
And I think that’s something that is often left forgotten. That writers expect to become publish worthy artists overnight when, in all reality, it’s a slow progression that takes time to hone one’s craft. In a lot of ways, I think that’s where my fear and anxiety comes in. I’m continually aware of the fact that I still need to improve in a lot of areas, so how long will I be writing until I can finally feel a sense of worthiness? Until tomorrow? Next month? Maybe a year?
For now, I’m content knowing that I’ve at least gotten far away from where I originally started. Now I actually edit. Maybe not very well, but certainly billions of times better than I did even two years ago. Now I actually know how to describe things without using the same example over and over again. Or even the same words. So, are you catching my drift? Maybe there’s something to the whole: take your time mantra.
In the meantime, I’m going to shut down the computer, pick at my fingernails, and cuss at myself for having such damn good taste.
*Click HERE to be brought straight to the Ira Glass quote that Jason Good uses on his Bio page.