How to Make Your Writing as Good as Your Ambition

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mind-the-gap

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners. I wish someone had 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 that 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 finish one piece. It’s 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 a while. You just gotta fight your way through.” — Ira Glass

Credit: Steve Bowbrick

Let Go

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faith-lets-goThanks to Fenton Johnson, who shared this quote recently from philosopher Alan Watts at the Writing by Writers conference.

Belief is the insistence that the truth is what one would like or wish it to be. Faith is the unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be. Faith has no preconceptions; it is a plunge into the unknown. Belief clings; faith let’s go.

Credit: zoetnet, Flickr Creative Common

Alice Munro Wins Nobel Prize in Literature

alice-munro

You may have already heard.

But for all of us short story writers out there, who aren’t sure they have a novel in them, this is for you from Alice: “I would really hope this would make people see the short story as an important art, not just something you played around with until you got a novel.”

The Best Training

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“The best training is to read and write, no matter what. Don’t live with a lover or roommate who doesn’t respect your work. Don’t lie, buy time, borrow to buy time. Write what will stop your breath if you don’t write.”
— Grace Paley

Photo: Daehyun Park / Flickr Creative Commons