How the Art You Consume Determines the Quality of Your Work

Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash

In 2009, during an interview, radio host Ira Glass shared rare insights into what it means to be a creative. The kind of insights that are just at the edge of our mind’s peripheral vision; he managed to pull into focus an often overlooked element about the act of creation.

What drives us to create in the first place is not a desire to play god, but rather our hunger for art.

“Nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish somebody had told this to me — is that all of us who do creative work … we get into it because we have good taste. But it’s like there’s a gap, that for the first couple years that you’re making stuff, what you’re making isn’t so good, OK? It’s not that great. It’s really not that great. It’s trying to be good, it has ambition to be good, but it’s not quite that good. But your taste — the thing that got you into the game — your taste is still killer, and your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you’re making is kind of a disappointment to you, you know what I mean?” — Ira Glass

He later goes on to make his most valuable contribution: the most important thing that you can do as a creative is to produce a huge volume of work until you become good enough to create work of the same quality as the art you consume.

You bridge the gap between the art you produce and the art you admire by producing as much work as possible.

It is true, and this particular insight has become almost myth, being written about over and over again by countless creatives.

Yes, the advice to do more work applies to almost all areas of life, but there’s something that we often take for granted: killer taste is not so easy to develop.

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