I recently came across this interesting film by photographer & visual storyteller, Daniel Sax, in which American radio personality, Ira Glass, talks about the issue of ‘the gap.’ (Ira particularly make reference to writing in his talk, but his words fit all creative disciplines.) He focusses on the disappointment felt by many creatives, as they are confronted by the gap between their taste and their skill.
Maybe you’ve felt it too?
You know what is good, but can’t always produce this quality in your own work, resulting in a shortfall, a void, a gap between what you want to create and what you actually produce. I often feel like this about my own work. I like what I create but I know that it could be a lot better.
Ira’s main point is that the only way to get past this phase is to create a large volume of work. Keep writing, singing, painting, whatever it is you do & don’t give up!
Most people quit.
Seeing work that falls short of what they want to achieve, they put down their tools feeling like a failure. Instead of striving for success and trying to avoid defeat at all costs the healthiest attitude to adopt is a growth mindset, which thrives on challenge and views failure as a way of growing. Easier said than done I know, but take heart in the fact that the majority of creative people experience ‘the gap.’ Patience is also required, as creative success doesn’t happen overnight. It can take many years to reach your potential.
In my previous blog post I talked about the creative curve, a U-shaped line that demonstrates the creative journey. This links to ‘the gap’ idea by talking about pushing through the complexities of your work, developing skills and finding your unique artistic voice.
We should all take a leaf out of Pablo Picasso‘s book. Picasso was one of the most prolific artists of all time. His output includes over 20,000 paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, ceramics, covering a variety of creative styles, including Cubism, Surrealism and Expressionism. Even in his eighties and nineties he kept producing artwork. Here is a man who didn’t give up!
So, to all you frustrated creatives (including myself!) remember Ira’s timeless wisdom, particularly his words at the end of Sax’s film….”you just gotta fight your way through.”