My friend, Zach Ward of Dirty South Improv sent out a link to four short, sequential videos featuring storytelling tips from Ira Glass. Glass is specifically addressing those who do radio and video podcasts, but his thoughts apply to storytelling, overall. Everything he says, like the best advice, is a no-brainer – something we already know but forget we know it – and it’s nice to hear it from such a cool guy working in the industry.
Here’s a quote from the Glass videos I really dig: “You’re gonna write a lot of stuff and it’s going to go nowhere and you should be happy about that. If you’re doing that, you’re doing it right. If you’re not failing all the time, you’re not creating a situation where you can get super-lucky.” This speaks to me as someone afraid of not only failure, but public failure. Ah, back to fear and creativity again; it’s a running gag in these here parts. But it’s true. Fear of doing something which will fail keeps me from doing the volume of work I should be doing. This means what I do create runs a larger chance of failing because I’m not producing enough to learn from mistakes and get better. What a tangled web we weave…
I especially like the “super-lucky” concept Glass uses. He proposes if one puts themselves in a routine of creating output, if one sets standard timetable goals and perseveres through whatever isn’t working and continues to try, eventually they will hit on something which really clicks. It’s true, we all know when we’ve got something that cooks, man, just cooks, and suddenly the long journey there makes it all seem worthwhile.