“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 it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work… It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
Recently, one of my friends decided to start dabbling in art. He sent me a picture of his first attempt: a line drawing of a puppy, crafted with mechanical pencil. In a subsequent text message, he self-consciously commented on his beginner status and expressed his embarrassment.
And so I reminded him—it takes time. It takes practice. It takes patience. We all must start at the beginning, as beginners. There was a day when Lance Armstrong didn’t know how to ride a bike. There was a day when Hemingway didn’t know his ABC’s. There was a day when Yo-Yo Ma didn’t know how to tune a cello. And there was a day when even Pablo Picasso couldn’t draw a puppy.
The most important thing is to believe in your own potential.
I’ve noticed that as I’ve gotten older, it’s been more and more difficult to try new things. I discovered most of my interests when I was very young. I began playing the violin at age five. I began portrait drawing in the fifth grade. And I discovered creative writing when I was twelve years old. Now, I feel like it is “too late” to pursue new interests. It is “too late” to try a sport. It is “too late” to pick up a new language. It is “too late” to learn the guitar. As I get older, I feel increasingly pressured to be competent, skilled. I feel like I do not have the time to start from the beginning, the basics, in the midst of moving forward towards a career, a life as a professional.
But then I remember that all of the skills, talents, and experiences that I take so much pride in now began…well, at the beginning. The basics. I realize that with a little time, practice, and patience, I can have even more skills, talents, and experiences. Regardless of age, growth and improvement requires the same overall process. Time. Practice. Patience.
What new skills and talents would you like practice?
To view the article that inspired this post, click here.
Post submitted by JoAnna