“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
My wife and I attended an open house party the other day and I got the opportunity to interact with a christian writer who is working on her first novel. She received a half dozen awards for her work at a local newspaper and recently submitted her completed manuscript for editing.
"How do you do it?" I asked.
"It's not me," she answered. "I just start typing and the words come to me."
Whatever your talent is, the key is to set aside time and put the effort in. For my writing friend, the words flow for her because she spent her life developing her talent and she allowed herself to be guided by the Holy Spirit.
If you are seriously considering writing a book or learning a new skill, here are some pointers to help you get started...
1. Ask yourself what motivates you to get out of bed in the morning. What makes your heart skip a beat?
2. Block out time on your planner dedicated to pursuing your passion. For me, it's 5:00 AM every day. The minimum time allotted is one hour. You should set aside time based on when you are feeling at your peak. Some people are at their best in the morning and others have more energy later in the day. Take into account the amount of distractions you will face and set a time that minimizes disturbances.
3. Let your loved ones know how important this time period is to you and ask them to respect your time the same way you set aside time for doctor visits or important meetings.
4. Be bigger than the obstacles. You must learn to conquer the objections. If you lack money to develop your gifts, get resourceful. If you're running out of time, cut out the time wasters and make the time.
5. Don't listen to the negative people who don't want you to succeed. Writers once depended on the approval of a publisher before their work found its way to the readers. Self publishing options have changed everything.
6. Join a support group or network that will keep you on track.
7. When you fall down, get back up.
8. Resolve to be a little bit better today at your craft than you were yesterday.
9. Learn one new thing before you end the day and go to sleep.
10. Just start typing and let the words flow...today, tomorrow, and every day. Once you decide to take that first step, keep walking. You're on your way.