Mind the Gap

Assalamualaikum.

“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

The other day I was watching videos from New Age Creators and I came across one that featured a quote by Ira Glass. I used to love this quote so, so much. It’s a quote that really resonated with me and was something I tried to remember and keep in the back of my mind, as a way to motivate myself. To remind myself to keep working towards my goals.

Somewhere along the way between then and now, I forgot the quote. (Maybe it got pushed back a bit too far at the back of my mind?). But now that I’ve found it again, in a form of a video just filled with beautiful visuals that I think will touch some hearts (or hey, all hearts?), I’d like to share it here on the blog as a little something for anyone who maybe have needed to hear these things for a while now but haven’t gotten a chance to, or to people who might want an extra push, but most of all, as a reminder for myself. (So it doesn’t get THAT much pushed to the back of my mind and if it does, HELLO, here it is for you to see again!).

 

Also, I thought it would be a good time for a little STORYTIME!

Once upon a time, I aspired to be a writer. I had so many ideas and stories in my head that I wanted to put into words and share with people – with the world. I wrote a little bit every single day on an app I had in my old phone – Writer – with the hopes that I could build on to what I was told I had ‘a knack for’. I wrote daily life snippets and moments, stories and – spontaneous, sometimes ridiculous, sometimes so exciting that I wish nothing else but to start on them immediately – ideas. Any little thing that would push me closer to this dream I had of writing a book, having the words not just stay inside of me but for them to be out in the world and free – I would practice everyday towards that goal until I could achieve it.

It’s funny to think back now, that I had all this in my heart and my mind, and yet it all became torn apart because of this ONE competition where I didn’t get the feedback that I wanted. My story wasn’t loved, wasn’t recognized. This one thing happened, and it was enough to make all these dreams I was striving towards seem hopeless, futile, never mind trying.

Suddenly, the app just seemed pointless – why should I write everyday anyways? Suddenly the ideas – the spontaneous, the ridiculous, the exciting – just became nothing more than false hopes and things that I can hold on to if I wanted, but were probably worth no one else’s time. Suddenly, I didn’t want to write. At least not as much as I wanted to before.

And yet I’ve hold on to these things in silence – like, oh, I’ll blog. Oh, I’ll keep those ideas in mind and build on it but never to the extent that I would pursue it further. Oh, I’ll write, but I’ll pretend it doesn’t mean much, doesn’t really matter. Like it never mattered at all.

But keeping all of these things, these words, to myself, just doesn’t seem to cut it anymore for me. I can’t pretend that it doesn’t matter; that writing doesn’t mean anything to me. I can’t do that to myself.

And so I’m happy that I stumbled upon this video and this quote, and that it touched my heart the way it did. I’m happy that I’m reminded of how much writing meant to me back then, and on how much it still means to me now. I’m happy that I remember that the gap exists and that it’s normal, and that all I need to do, really, is to chin up, look around and climb out of it. It probably will take a while or more, but as long as I keep in mind that I can get out, that there are things waiting outside the gap, then hey, why should I stop? Why should I leave all those beautiful dreams behind?

If the video and the quote awoken a little something in you that has been put out for a while now, then I hope that newly awaken dream grows vivid once again, and that through this video and this quote, you can mind the gap and do something about it. In sha Allah, HEHE.

With love, Iween.

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6 thoughts on “Mind the Gap

  1. Assalamu’alaikum, Iween! Been awhile since I drop a comment here(*thats because I’ve been reading your blog posts in class,right before lectures that I forgot to afterwards). I can relate to this post and it reminded me of what I truly seek in creating especially since I’m not contented with what I create lately.
    Anyhow, I know you’ve been writing since so long and I know that you have that many ideas waiting to explode into words and I know that there exist some in-between struggles in doing so(as any other storyteller do). But the wonderful thing you did was to find a way to find the will to keep going. From what I see, you are preserving that writing legacy of yours. Right before me here, is a story of your own. :D I hope you’ll continue that way, making this blog your very own platform, Iween. I’ll definitely be your loyal reader~

    Like

    1. Wa’alaikumussalam <3 Aw, I appreciate that you are always reading, though, hehe!
      That sounds good – I think it's such a wonderful quote and it really serves as a reminder to people like us who do creative work like writing and drawing and art. Every now and then, it's nice to be reminded that when we struggle in doing this work, it's completely normal :)
      Thank you so much! <3 That means so, so much to me, hearing that. Likewise for you, who has been blowing my mind since we were little with your art work hehe!
      Love you! <3

      Like

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