Some bloggers, writers, designers (fill in creative-type person here) have a strong voice and solid point of view at a young age. Take Man Repeller, for example. She was in her ’20s when her blog, with it’s great photos and confident, hilarious writing, became huge. Or Alexandar Wang. He was a youngster when he saw major success as a designer. But for the majority of us, it takes a little longer.
This Ira Glass video explains his take on why you shouldn’t give up if wild success doesn’t happen overnight. If you do art, writing, designing or something else creative, he says, you probably have great taste. But there’s a gap between what you love and achieving something that meets that standard. What you create might not be that good at first. But if you know what IS good, and you keep trying (hard) you can start closing that gap. He took longer than anyone, he says, to get there. I love hearing him say that, because I’m certainly not there. And if I ever do get there I’m sure I’ll have taken longer than him!
In the book The Genius in all of Us by David Shenk, he talks about “deliberate practice.” It’s what Beethoven did to become a “genius” composer, and what Beyonce did to become an amazing singer and dancer. They worked hard day in and day out until they became incrementally better. They probably had the raw material for great talent—an ear for music, good vocal cords. But they weren’t born geniuses. They put in the hours and tolerated the discomfort that comes with hard work to become great talents.
So, I’m try not to get to distressed when I look at this photograph. I was in my early-20s and on my way to see the goth-rock band Alien Sex Fiend. Spiral-permed hair, a fringed bustier tube top, and denim cutoffs seemed just the thing. We are all works in progress.