Ira Glass on creativity: work is the answer

As a public radio guy I look to Ira Glass of “This American Life” much the way one of the puppets on the “Sprout” network must look to Big Bird of “Sesame Street. Yeah, we’re in the same field. We even have the same parent organization (NPR/PBS). Yeah, we share some fundamental interests and skills. But, really, how could I (nameless after-hours Sprout puppet) ever hope to match the achievement and consistency of Glass (Big Bird)?

Well, Glass has answered that question for us. I’ve read this quote before but with it laid out in graphic form with Glass’s voice this is even better:

I very much agree. Was the first episode of my new radio show very, very good? NPR good? Not really. It was pretty good for a local show; choppy for a national one. Subsequent shows have gotten better. Maybe we’re knocking on the door of being good. But the only way you cross the finish line is by continuing the work. I very much feel that way about my writing. I wrote a lot of crappy columns over the past 10 years (and sometimes still do), each of them necessary to write ones that are good.

Stephen King says something similar in “On Writing.” Writers write. Write and write. When you think you’ve written something good, tear it apart and write some more. Because almost no one is naturally good. Only through work, as with farming and mechanics.

(h/t Aaron Klemz)

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