I’m now 4000 words into the book, and cranking along. This is fun!
Here’s an excerpt from the rough draft of the chapter on developing initial skills:
The final critical component is not to be intimidated. Let go of worrying about good and bad, specifically about whether you are good or bad at this (or are ever capable of doing it). You’re going to be bad at the beginning because you haven’t yet developed skills. This, as Ira Glass points out, is true for everyone, and has nothing to do with talent. If you understand that your initial work will be bad, embrace that! – let that free you from worrying about your talents or lack thereof, or about the quality of the work. Too often beginners abandon a craft because their initial efforts don’t meet their expectations. They then either restrict themselves to things where they will turn out a pretty product (crippling their learning) or conclude that they have no talent, and stop. The truth is that talent is underrated – in craftwork, quality of work is almost always predicated on the skills developed and the work put into developing those skills. It is true that a talented person will learn a bit faster, but there are very few crafts that can’t be learned by anyone who chooses to develop skill in the craft, and puts the work in.
So don’t be intimidated when something doesn’t work out as you want: instead, ask yourself why it didn’t, and what skills you need to develop in order to make it work. Then, work on those skills!
I actually think this is the core of learning any craft quickly: be fearless, knowing your initial work will be bad. Then pay attention to developing the skills that will improve your work. Before you know it, you’ll be turning out much better pieces.