Wednesday, September 7, 2011

In Which Ira Glass Tells Me What I Need to Hear

Yesterday I wrote about the frustration I'm experiencing with my work in general. Is it any good, why am I doing this, I suck at revising, etc. Normal creative angst, obviously, but still tough to stomach. I went to bed last night having convinced myself that my ambition far exceeded my talent. 

And then this morning I happened to click on this video with This American Life's Ira Glass talking about the creative process. Some great quotes:

"Most everybody I know who does interesting creative work, they went through a phase of 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.

...It didn't have this special thing that we wanted it to have. And the thing I would say to you is that everybody goes though've got to know that it's totally normal and the most important possible thing you could do is do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week, every month you know you're going to finish one story.

...It's only by actually going through a volume of work that you're actually going to catch up and close that gap, and the work you're making will be as good as your ambitions."

He then proceeds to play a clip from a terrible radio broadcast he wrote and produced eight years into his career. It's hilariously bad. 

I guess the only thing for me to do is just get back to work. Hopefully I'll laugh one day at my older stuff too. 

Posted via email from Jane Donuts is Starting Over

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Writerly angst

Fighting through a super angsty period right now. I thought maybe it was because of the conversation I engaged in with a few of my siblings last weekend about why I would want to pursue writing in any professional way (what was I thinking, didn't I realize it wasn't possible, etc. etc.), but I think it's actually because I have a few pieces hanging out there awaiting judgment. 

1. I applied for the Pen Center's Emerging Voices program. It is a longshot, and I've been honest with myself about that fact from the beginning. However, I put a ton of work into the application process, and, of course, I really want it. And I know that they are supposedly notifying finalists any day now, and I hate the not knowing whether I have or have not made it. I wish they'd put up a cut list like when you try out for a high school team. I'd rather be cut than in limbo.

2. I wrote a short piece about 9/11 that I went ahead and submitted to a few online outlets for consideration. Two rejections so far, which I actually feel OK about. It's the ones still hanging out there that make me anxious. It's the waiting. Also, I'm really not sure it's interesting at all. So there's that.

3. My piece about the rise of the use of Botox is being workshopped in my class this Thursday, but I handed it in two weeks ago, so I feel like it's been hanging out there forever. Once again, I don't feel like I have yet developed an internal compass as to what is and isn't good. I suck at revising. I can pour something out there and give it some semblance of shape, but I am not very good at honing in the strong parts and cutting out the weak ones. At least not immediately after writing something. 

Oh and also, I have to find a new apartment by the end of the month, my brother/BFF is moving out of the country, and I'm turning 35 in less than two weeks. So maybe those things are making me angsty too. Just a thought. 



Posted via email from Jane Donuts is Starting Over