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This American Life‘s Ira Glass was interviewed a few years ago about what makes a great story. In the interview, he admits that he was a TERRIBLE storyteller for almost ten years; and it was precisely those years of floundering around that helped him develop his skills.

Glass’ ideas about his creative development mirror Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour Rule from the book Outliers in which he states that incredible talents from Bill Gates to The Beatles had to put in an incredible effort before they had mastered their fields.

According to Gladwell, this apprenticeship phase requires an average of 10,000 hours working at your craft. The way Ira Glass says it, you get into the game because you’ve got great taste– not because you’re any good; and it takes years and years of work before your output rises to the level of your ambitions. So, in short: Keep writing!

Creativity requires as much dedication as it does inspiration. I’ll bet most of the greats would argue that it takes far MORE dedication than inspiration.

So go easy on yourself if you’re not a genius yet.

-Chris R. at BookBaby

P.S. Here’s Gladwell talking about the 10,000 Hour Rule with Anderson Cooper:

Chris Robley

About Chris Robley

Chris Robley has written 502 posts in this blog.

is an award-winning poet, songwriter, performer, and music producer who now lives in Portland, Maine after more than a decade in Portland, Oregon. His music has been praised by NPR, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, and others. Skyscraper Magazine said he is “one of the best short-story musicians to come along in quite some time.” Robley’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Magma Poetry, and more. He is the 2013 winner of Boulevard's Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers and the 2014 recipient of a Maine Literary Award in the category of "Short Works Poetry."

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