Ira Glass

Ira Glass on Keeping Going

Are you producing the sort of art you see in your mind's eye? Do you envision but cannot produce? Keep going, friend.

What does perseverance look like?

To me it looks like lettering practice, line after line, stroke after stroke, wrist and arm repeating the pull and swing of each repeated mark, over and over.

Click image for free practice sheets from calligrapher Julia Bausenhardt.

Click image for free practice sheets from calligrapher Julia Bausenhardt.

To reporter, writer and radio producer Ira Glass, perseverence looks like producing a large body of work, even though you know you haven't yet arrived. Even though your taste says that what you're doing is not good enough. But you don't let that stop you trying.

The two-minute video below explains what he means. With, by the way, some wonderfully thought out graphics. (You can also view the video here.)

Produce a lot of work

I love the story in Art and Fear when authors David Bayles and Ted Orlund describe a pottery class in which the teacher divides the students into two groups. One group is told they'll be graded on the quantity of pots they make. Each student's total pot output will be weighed at the end of the course and regardless of quality, fifty pounds of pots will earn an A.

Students in the second group are told that they need make only one pot. But to earn an A, that pot must be perfect.

And of course the students in the first group are the ones whose work improves the most. There is no pressure. They keep on producing and improving.

It doesn't have to be perfect, you just have to show up. 

Which is another way of saying that I, repentant of missed weeks writing here, will be publishing posts more regularly (regardless of quality) which is the very best way for that quality to be produced.

See you next week!

And now for some lettering ...