The difficulty of getting good at anything.

Firs you need to Learn to make something. Anything. When you are  learning to make stuff, you’ll want to learn how to make stuff that people actually want. You’ll want to constantly show people your work, no matter how bad it is. You’ll want to try and build an audience, or a customer base. Again, this is a skill in itself and may take years to figure out. You need to find small wins in what you do and this kind of positive feedback will keep you going.

It’s been discussed endlessly in books like Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, but it takes years of solid practice to be any good at anything. And then 10,000 hours (roughly 10 years) to become a world-class expert. But even before you sink years into something, you’ll get frustrated much earlier on because you’ll think that you suck at it. There’s a great quote from Ira Glass (of This American Life) about the difficulty of getting good at anything, starting as a beginner:

“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that 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, and 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 it’s 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 I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”