archive your shit
I had 2 YouTube channels as a teenager. One of them regularly had 1K+ views on Minecraft let’s play with almost 20 episodes.
One video hit 1 million views.
As a self conscious 16-17 year old, prompted by a comment from a friend - I deleted it. I never made any backups. It was gone.
Similarly, I had a notebook with loads of short-stories/insights. One day I just decided to throw it away. It felt like a burden because I knew it wasn’t good.
The taste talent gap (Ira Glass). The taste was there. The talent was not.
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.
I deeply regret deleting these. I would love to see what 17 year old me made, but memory has eroded it. The belief that something needed to be ‘good’ took over the creative aspect.
Since then, I’ve radically changed. It’s better to make a 100 crappy things, than to get super attached to one piece and one outcome. The belief that everyone must like it, means that no-one will.
Make 100 crappy things
Be creative like a child. Create simply to create. Create absolute garbage. And archive it.
If you start a project. You will inevitably quit (very likely). You want a record.
- Save those stupid blog posts
- Save those stupid vlogs/videos
- Save those bad photos
- Save those terrible singing/guitar videos.
Go buy a 10TB hard-drive. and save everything. There is no excuse. Document your life.
All this comes down to - is to take yourself, and anything you produce less seriously.
Seriously, no-one cares.