Your Killer Taste

This Ira Glass quote shared by Sally McGraw at Already Pretty helps me key in on the despondency I’ve been feeling in my new work!

What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me —  is that 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, and 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.

~ Ira Glass

Sally uses the quote to talk about style; I find it totally applies to sermon writing and worship planning; and Ira Glass wrote it to discuss his own journalism.

It is so reassuring to know that my own disappointment at not being good enough comes from my “killer taste”—this is a good thing!  And it’s not going to go away, even as I have to work to live up to it… and reassure myself that it’s okay on those weeks when I don’t.

(My Dad said last night, “Don’t worry about being creative.  For now, do what you have to do, figure out what you’re doing, and your creativity will still be there for you when you take it back up again.”)

Does this describe your own creative endeavors?  Have you already fought your way through?  Or are you still fighting?

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2 Responses to Your Killer Taste

  1. marciglass says:

    That’s a great quote. Thanks for sharing!
    I’ve been doing the weekly preaching thing for 3 years now, and have found that it does get easier. What doesn’t get easier, however, is discerning which of my sermons are “good” (will resonate with people). There are weeks when I am almost embarrassed to get in front of the congregation and preach, and those are, invariably, the weeks when people LOVE my sermons. The ones I think are great–not such a response.
    So, I’ve given up trying to “judge” my own sermons. I just trust that over the long relationship with the congregation, things will be okay.
    But back to the quote from Ira Glass. I’ve recently taken on some additional writing assignments, and I will keep his quote in mind as I work on them. Thanks.

    • La Peregrina says:

      Marci, I’m glad to know it gets easier! And I have been surprised that other people are not as hard on me as I am on myself (or as my seminary professors were, haha). It definitely seems to be a weekly miracle of hearing, not of speaking (as a friend of mine interprets the miracle in Acts 2).

      Good luck with your new writing projects!

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