Encouraging Advice For Beginning Writers From Ira Glass

advice on writing

Image Courtesy Jesse Michener

The other day, I came across a series of videos recorded by writer and broadcaster, Ira Glass. In the videos, Glass talks about the art and craft of story telling, and hands out quite a bit of advice on writing and the creative process.

In one of these videos, Glass talks about the value of not giving up, of not quitting before you have even hit your mark, so to speak. He says that far too many writers and other creative types quit before they start to make any real headway with what they are doing.

But why is this?

If you’re a writer, you know what a struggle it can often be. If you are like me and most other writers I know, you probably think about quitting every day.

I do constant battle with myself, trying to fend off the voices of negativity in my head, the ones that tell me to stop writing, that it’s a pointless endeavor, that there is just too much competition out there to even think about becoming successful.

You know the voices I’m talking about.

Normally, I can keep these voices in check by simply continuing to write, to keep on doing what I’m doing despite everything else.

There are days when that can be hard though.

Recently, I feel like I have hit a brick wall of sorts when it comes to being a writer. Not so much with the writing itself, as I’m probably writing more now than ever.

But I have started to question which direction I need to be going in as a writer. At the moment, I’m not sure what path I should be taking. I’m not sure if I should stick to my current genres, or try writing in a different genre, and to try writing different kinds of books.

It is one of those times when I’m just not sure what to do.


What Ira Glass Says To Do

Although Glass doesn’t give an answer to my specific questions, in one of his videos he does talk inspiringly about the value of staying the course.

He says that many writers are unsure of their work in the beginning, especially because they know they are not quite producing the kind of work they want to produce.

They may be writing, but the writing is not what they want it to be yet.

And this is precisely why many writers quit after a few years, because they think it is always going to be that way, that they will never quite hit the mark.

But Glass argues that this is a phase that all creative types go through, and that eventually, the work will match the initial vision.

Basically, he is talking about perseverance and trusting the process, things that I have discussed quite a bit on this blog already, but he puts it in such an eloquent and inspiring way, that the message hits home a lot deeper, I think.

And going by my own past experience of learning other things, what Glass says seems to apply. If you stick at what you are doing, eventually you will step up a level, and then another level, and so on.

Of course, you still have to be smart about what you are doing. It’s not all about turning up every day and putting in the grunt work of practice, although that is most of it. You still have to do it right, and do it smart.

But that is a whole other article.

For now, if you are struggling at the moment with being a writer, or being creative in any other way, then I encourage you to watch the video below. Someone has helpfully put together this quote of Glass talking about what we just discussed. It is a great video and I have it saved on my computer for times when I feel discouraged and I need reminding of why I should carry on and not quit.

[vimeo id=”24715531″ align=”center” mode=”normal” autoplay=”no” maxwidth=”800″]

If you are interested in watching the short videos that Glass himself made, then you can find them all on YouTube. There are four videos in all, and each one of them is full of absolute gold advice and encouragement for writers and other creative types. Trust me, you will not regret the twenty minutes it will take to watch them. Here’s the link:


And the whole thing on a quote image:

writing advice

4 thoughts on “Encouraging Advice For Beginning Writers From Ira Glass”

  1. Hi Neal. Just wanted to say that I love your website. You have written a lot of interesting articles on writing that I found inspiring and useful, this one included. You are right, Ira Glass’s words are very motivating and encouraging for those of us not long into the writing journey. Thank you!

    • Thanks Tracy! Sometimes all it takes is a little inspiration to get us going or keep us moving, and that’s what Ira Glass’s words did for me. Don’t forget to check out his videos also. Well worth watching.

  2. I had never heard of Ira Glass before I read this article, maybe because I’m from the UK. Very inspiring and I loved the videos. Thanks for posting!


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