Saturday, June 30, 2012

You’ve just gotta fight your way through

This afternoon I saw a tweet by Jamie González that quoted Ira Glass, "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."

That was me. As a young graphic designer fresh out of school, I was frustrated by my inability to be as awesome and creative as the designers I was working with. At some point I stopped becoming a designer and identified as a developer because I thought I was a better developer than I was a designer.  

Today, while I do some graphic design and focus on the client end of development, my company pays me for pushing bytes, not pixels. 

The funny thing is, the only reason the same thing didn't happen to me in programming was that I was isolated and ignorant as a beginning programmer and thought I was great at it. Had I had the good fortune of working with great developers early on, I might have given up on that, too. 

Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

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