Tonight, I had a long talk with Emily. She was trying to encourage me in a moment where I felt pretty shitty about just about everything in my life. She’s awesome like that. She shared with me this great quote from Ira Glass, something that I think holds quite a bit of truth. I think he is right about many people who create, but it isn’t as universal as he makes it out to be.
For all it’s truth and beauty, it is missing one key component… tons of people who want to create actually don’t have great taste, or talent, or anything resembling either. For every Ira Glass, struggling and fighting with remarkable talent and potential to create something beautiful, there are thousands of people creating shit while they think they are doing something amazing.
It’s the primary thing I wrestle with when I am trying to give myself permission to spend time creating and writing. What if I suck? What if I’m terrible, and I only think I have good taste? There are a countless number of hack writers out there who think they are the cat’s meow, who believe they have great taste and that the only thing keeping them from fame and accolades is a lucky break here or there.
Granted, sometimes you can be terrible and still make it. There are plenty of absolutely terrible writers who do become wildly successful financially. But bad writers making good obviously doesn’t mean that all writers who can’t catch a break are talented. Simple logic is all that is needed to make clear that most unsuccessful writers are actually bad at what they do. Sure, there are talented folks out there who haven’t been discovered yet, but how am I to know which group I fall into? I want to believe that I have good taste, that I know good from bad, but doesn’t everyone think that? Most people don’t have good taste, but that doesn’t stop them from thinking they do while they spend their nights at Applebee’s watching CBS.
My trouble is that I have been writing for somewhere around 11 years, and I can’t even get most of my best friends to read my blog consistently. Doesn’t that offer a pretty clear indication that I’m not any good at this?
It’s quite the quandary, that’s for sure!