Your taste is still killer

“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


7 Comments Add yours

  1. This is one of my favorite insights of all time. It works in almost every situation.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brian says:

    Haha. This came at a good time for me. I was in the shop this morning shaking my head in disgust at a project that I’m halfway through. I tend to not scrap a project because something is a little off, I try to finish it making the best of the flaws. Sometimes it gets the better of me. I’m very much in this stage.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I tend to see a thing through if I can, but I’m also learning when to cut my losses. The saw till in my Dutch chest took three tries. The first two became firewood but the third vaguely approximates what I was shooting for.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Brian says:

        I hope I’m not to stubborn to do that if it’s needed.


  3. Brian Clites says:

    Where does one find gems like this Jim? Did you scrawl it down while listening to the radio?


    1. Great question. I listen to sooo many podcasts. I would’ve thought I’d stumble across this at some point.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. No, I found it on

      A fair amount of my day to day work is just connecting dots for people so I tend to collect little thoughts and anecdotes that I find poignant whether or not I know why. This one is pretty obvious.

      Liked by 1 person

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