Episode 036 | Mind the (Taste) Gap
You have good taste.
I know. It doesn’t seem like that should be a problem, but we both know it is. Because your good taste is like rocket fuel for that inner critic of yours. The reason you can recognize that your work isn’t necessarily “living up” to the work that you admire by other people is because you have excellent taste. If you didn’t have an eye for good writing, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
And because of that, it also makes your own work seem:
c. Not worth doing
d. More trouble than it’s worth
e. All of the above
When your inner critic uses your good taste in literature against you, here’s what you do.
First, like most things,
There is no need to panic here. The Taste Gap is the puberty of your writing life. It’s not always pleasant, but it means you’re growing and shifting into a new, more mature phase of your (writing) life. It’s completely normal. It’s what’s supposed to happen. Try not to let it freak you out and make you wish you could quit. Because, c’mon, you’re a writer. You can’t quit!
Second, recognize that the book that you’re reading is not likely to be the first draft of the book that you’re reading. Take a look at this, and tell me: does this seem like apples to apples to you?
If you’re comparing your work in progress (especially work you’re doing mostly on your own, as in the example on the left above) to a commercially released book (like the one on the right in the example above), you’re not exactly playing fair with yourself.
Finally, reclaim the power of your good taste. It’s your turn to use it as your rocket fuel. Let it inspire you and guide you as you do your work and get better while you aim for the heavens.
The most important possible thing you can do is do a lot of work. Ira Glass
Next week, we’ll talk a little about all those different types of edits that published books go through, and how you can get some (or all) of them for yourself. Until then…
Happy writing, people!
The Taste Gap by Ira Glass – Video by Daniel Sax
The Taste Gap: Ira Glass on the Secret of Creative Success, Animated in Living Typography by Maria Popova (Contains a transcript of the same thing)