Chris EK, on life as a continually learning software engineer.

Ira Glass on Storytelling [and Programming]

“For everyone in doubt, especially for myself…”.

Nobody tells people who are beginners–and I really wish somebody had told this to me–is that all of us who do creative work, like, you know, we get into it, and we get into it because we have good taste.

But it’s like there’s a gap. That for the first couple years that you’re making stuff, what you’re making isn’t so good. Ok, it’s not that great. It’s trying to be good, it has ambition to be good, but it’s not quite that good. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, your taste is still killer. And your taste is good enough that you can tell, that what you’re making is kind of a disappintment to you–you know what I mean? A lot of people never get past that phase. A lot of people at that point, they quit.

And the thing I would just, like, say to you, with all of my heart, is that most everybody I know, who does interesting, creative work–they went through a phase of years where they had really good taste, they could tell what they were making wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be. They knew it fell short. It didn’t have this special thing that we wanted it to have. And, the thing I would say to you is: everybody goes through that.

And for you to go through it, if you’re going through it right now, if you’re just getting out of that phase, you gotta know–it’s totally normal. And the most important possible thing you could do is do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work. Put yourself on a deadline, so that every week or every month, you know you’re gonna finish one story.

(or learn one technology, or complete one app…)

Because it’s only by actually going through a volume of work that you’re actually going to catch up and close that gap, and the work you’re making will be as good as your ambitions.

It takes a while, it’s gonna take you a while, it’s normal to take a while, and you just have to fight your way through that. Okay?

Take two minutes and watch it.