I haven’t done this in forever.
This Is Water. David Foster Wallace gave good commencement. I recommend this if you’re currently in the process of figuring out how to be a grown up.
‘There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning boys, how’s the water?” And the two young fish go on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?”‘
Ira Glass on storytelling and being a beginner.
“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 A took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
The Moth is a weekly storytelling podcast. It is absolutely wonderful and guaranteed to make your life at least 15% better. Don’t believe me? Try this story.