Finding our way through writing can be disorienting. Our own feelings, sometimes our very motivation for writing, is exactly what can derail us. Here’s some brief advice direct from one of the masters, Ira Glass, creator and host of This American Life.
In this video, Glass honors what brought us to do creative work in the first place, even our initial vision. In a profession that insists, no, demands, “kill your darlings,” revision, and constant improvement, this affirmation of our origin as an artist is comforting. I like his choice of phrase, “body of work,” as if all of this writing actually has a destination, that I am working in concentrated study. He also identifies the specific moment when some artists quit and reaches back to us, to help us forward, as someone who has made it to the other side of his creative work. It’s so easy to feel bad or discouraged and his advice is something that I return to again and again.