May 132011

Here are four videos of Ira Glass talking about storytelling. The quote below is from the third segment.


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

  6 Responses to “What Nobody Tells Beginners — Ira Glass on Storytelling”

  1. Exactly what I needed to hear today! Thank you for posting this. (That gap he speaks of has been killing me! But I won’t let it.)

  2. Abandon crap! Kill & enjoy the killing to make something better live. Words to write by. Thanks for posting.

  3. This is great…thanks for bringing it, DG!

  4. I’ve learned to love the delete key. And even more, I get excited when I realize things can be deleted! This is all good! Correction: This is good! Correction: Good! Correction: 🙂

    You understand.

  5. After a first week of leaving my new radio reporting job in tears feeling like an utterly incompetent fool – my brother sent me this article. The timing, the wording and the messenger could not possibly have been more appropriate for the content; content that has quenched my insane thirst for validation and comfort.

    I will go to work today eager to see what kind of crap I’ll be able to produce…knowing it’s just one mediocre story out of the way and one stepping stone towards producing important and touching tales I can be proud of.

    Thank you.

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