Practice, Persevere, Purge: wisdom from Ira Glass

So you want to be a writer? Storyteller? Screen or radio writer?

Ira Glass of This American Life (a masterful collector of uniquely gripping radio stories -now also on TV) has great advice for you.  Boiled down, it amounts to three of my favorite p-words:

  • Practice (write or record a lot of crap, and maybe occasionally some good stuff).
  • Persevere (do it some more, and then some more and then more after that).
  • Purge (you’ll produce lots of crap and will need to let most of it go).

But he says this with much more pizzazz than I do, so you must watch these four videos on You-Tube.  REALLY. They’re only five minutes each and packed with wisdom.

Start here – #1: Building blocks of the story. The power of the anecdote. Raising questions and then answering them. Reflecting on the point. Every preacher or public speaker should listen to this one.

Then here #2  Finding a decent story – do lots of work then ruthlessly purge the crap.

Then here #3:  How your work almost always, for YEARS, falls short of your taste, your vision.  But do it anyway. A lot. Persevere. 

And finally #4  Two common pitfalls.

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