I have been writing off and on for 24 years. I’m not really sure why I do it. Sometimes I write because I feel like I have to. Sometimes I write because I feel like there are stories stuck inside of me. Sometimes I write because I have ideas in my head that I don’t really understand and I want to understand them better.
I take writing pretty seriously. I stress out about writing. I talk about writing. I read about writing. I pretty much obsess about writing. The one thing I don’t do enough, it turns out, is actually writing.
The writers I admire most say that the secret to being a great writer is writing everyday. Just writing and writing and writing. It makes sense, but it isn’t particularly encouraging advice when the writing feels so thin and poor on the page.
Ira Glass says that’s normal. In fact, mediocrity is part of the process. All good artists start out being mediocre and they are dissatisfied by their own mediocrity. This dissatisfaction dissuades most people from sticking with it. Don’t give up. The cure for mediocre art is to create lots and lots of mediocre art. The fact that you recognize your own art’s mediocrity is a sign of good taste. Keep working at it. Work at it for years. Slowly, you will close the gap. Someday, your art will be as good as your taste, but only if you stay with it and only if you do it a lot.
Here’s how Ira Glass says it:
Keep doing it.