What you’re making is not going to be so good

What you’re making is not going to be so good
That's me! And I've got a long way to catch my friends up on top. Photo taken at Cape Cod.

For the 12th time I am starting my blogging habit again and I am terrified.

I am terrified of putting myself out there publicly. I am scared for what my friends and family will think of me when they see this side of me. I am petrified at the thought of making shitty blog posts and being criticized by my peers. “Who does Evan think he is?”

The last blog post I wrote was at least 4 years ago. I don’t remember why I stopped. If I were to guess, I probably placed too much pressure on myself to “get it right” and look good in front of you all. We all know that’s a recipe for discouragement and sucking the fun out of whatever you’re doing. Having not written for 4 years is evidence to support that.

Only recently have I been reminded of a few simple truths to push me to get started again.

The difference between a great writer and amateur writer is simply the number of hours they put in. Innate talent is a myth and it all boils down to practice, practice, practice. My best strategy is to embrace the growth mindset over fixed mindset, which is to believe that I am capable of becoming great so long as I put in the work.

“I am not an expert at anything, therefore I should not write.” This a long held belief that disempowered me from starting again. A prolific writer shared with me the perspective that we don’t need to be an “expert” or have some sort of accolade to have permission to write. What if writing can simply be a means of sharing what you’re experiencing? A way of sharing what you’re currently dealing with, curious about, or learning? That’s a much more empowering strategy that takes the pressure off me.

“I need a specific niche to cover. I need to have a brand strategy. I need a comprehensive plan and path to monetizing my blog with several digital products lined up.” Yikes, what madness. No, none of that is necessary. Clarity comes through action, not idle thinking. I simply need to start and I will discover along the way. Keep it simple, silly.

There’s this video I revisit often to remind me that whenever I am starting on new craft, what I will be making is not going to be good. And that is complete normal and expected.

So just write, Evan. Write a fucking lot. It’s going to take years for you to get good, so you may as well enjoy the process starting now.

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, and I really wish somebody had told this to me.

All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But it’s like there is this gap. For the first couple years that you’re making stuff, what you’re making isn’t so good. It’s not that great. It’s trying to be good, it has ambition to be good, but it’s not that good.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you’re making is kind of a disappointment to you. A lot of people never get past that phase. They quit.

Everybody I know who does interesting, creative work they went through years where they had really good taste and they could tell that what they were making wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be. They knew it fell short. Everybody goes through that.

And if you are just starting out or if 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. Do a huge volume of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week or every month you know you’re going to finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you’re going to catch up and close that gap. And the work you’re making will be as good as your ambitions.

I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It takes awhile. It’s gonna take you a while. It’s normal to take a while. You just have to fight your way through that.

—Ira Glass

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