Bridging the Gap

by tjbeitelman

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Here’s a pull quote from Clay Shirky’s TED talk above:

“The stupidest possible creative act is still a creative act….The gap is between doing anything and doing nothing.”

And here’s Ira Glass on being a beginner:

Ira-Glass-Quote

At first, these two statements don’t seem to be very different from each other. But maybe they are. Maybe by a lot.

One is egalitarian and leaves it for the marketplace of ideas to decide what’s “good” and what’s not. Make it, share it, don’t worry about it.

The other is craft-oriented, self-centered: the individual artist’s ambition and creative vision is the ultimate arbiter. Trust your taste and honor it, hone it.

One says the gap exists between inertia and effort — between nothing and something. 

The other says it’s between what you can imagine and what you can actually make — between good and not (yet) good enough.

Effort’s a component of both, yes, but it’s a different kind of effort. One is a short burst and the other is a slow burn.

In my experience, both approaches work. (And full disclosure: both don’t work, too. It all depends on the context.)

They’re different but they don’t have to be mutually exclusive. They can actually be mutually supportive.

The question I have to keep asking is which attitude works best for me right now?

I don’t always get the answer right at first. The answer can change on a dime. But it’s good to know there’s another approach to try.