In my childhood I got the message loud and clear: if you weren’t really good at something by the start of high school, you should just quit. I remember in my middle school ballet classes my peers were trying to decide if they were good enough to go on professionally or if they needed to quit. There’s a gap somewhere in the learning curve and this gap is an integral part of the authentic American childhood.
While some of us in my classes did earn spots on college dance teams, NFL cheerleader squads or ballet corps, the rest of us, including myself, quit after senior year of high school. I felt required to give up simply because I wasn’t as good as the greats, which I’m sure many people my age can relate to. We were allowed to learn for a while but pretty soon we needed to be amazing or there was no point in continuing.
As Ira Glass unearths in his video on Storytelling, the creative process, whether that be for dancing or journalism, is not for the faint of heart. So many of us get discouraged or bogged down by a lack of content excellence right at the beginning. Pushing through that plateau of disenchantment requires faith, the drive to keep learning, and a lot of time.
Glass aptly notes however that the keen discretionary eye and “killer taste” of those who pursue creative lives can carry us through the uncertainty. We know what we like, even if that isn’t what we’re writing at the time being. He implores us to keep producing and promises that soon, our skills will shine through again.
I encourage anyone struggling with this to check out his inspiring words here!