We’re lucky enough to live in a time where we have direct access to most of the great working artists. They tweet at us, they talk to us, they listen to us. In the best way (for us if not for them) it lowers their pedestal a little and helps us to see they’re just like us. In turn, it helps us to see we’re just like them. We can do what they do (with time, talent, luck, and effort, of course). The best example of this off the top of my head is Ira Glass’s speech on the gap between taste and output. When I first heard it, it blew my mind. It was so encouraging. For years I’ve listened to Ira tell me stories for an hour every week with this incredible skill and unique twist that I could never pull off myself. Through that quote Ira taught me the importance of recognizing the time he put into that. The time he spent putting out something that wasn’t that good. The time I could spend getting to that level. And you know, there are a lot of things like that. If you’re working towards any sort of creative goal, somewhere out there someone you admire has explained into a microphone why the struggle you’re going through is necessary and why it will be fruitful.
Still, even when I’m as confident as I’ll ever be in my abilities and my ability to further develop them, I often lack confidence in myself. I doubt that at my core I’m the sort of person who’ll ever be able to achieve anything and I feel like if I do I’ll wind up squandering the opportunity. Maybe my writing will be good enough but I won’t be. Those GIFs up top are from a thirty second segment from the recent Mel Brooks documentary for American Masters. He’s talking about the time early in his career when his first wife left him and how he handled that. He didn’t. He went through a major depression. In the middle of that depression he was writing for Your Show of Shows. Carl Reiner says he was suicidal. He went through all of that and then he wrote and directed The Producers, High Anxiety, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, and every other comedy you’ve ever enjoyed. I don’t know, I don’t have much more to say, I just felt compelled to say that much. Those things that feel like they cripple you and make you feel like you’re not enough aren’t everything. You’ve still got a fucking great movie in you.