Write While True Episode 26: Transcript

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I’m Lou Franco and this is episode 26 of Write While True.

The name of this podcast is a program that goes into an infinite loop, and that’s because I think of writing as an infinite game.

It’s like a game of catch, which is even more fun when you get better at it, but the only way to do that is to keep playing.

So in each episode, I’ll tell you something I learned about writing and then I’ll throw you the ball with a writing challenge or a prompt.

Part Three of Four on Art & Fear

As I mentioned in episode 23, I’m taking a break from recording podcasts, but I’m not taking a break from publishing podcasts. I did that by recording five episodes back to back so that I would have plenty to work with and edit into episodes over the next month.

To make it easier, I decided to do a four-part series on the lessons I learned from Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland. Having ideas that generate work was actually the first thing I learned from them and was the subject of episode 24.

Last week I shared the quote that made me restart and not quit this podcast.

This week, in part three, I want to talk about this quote about what art means to the maker. Here’s the quote:

Making art and viewing art are different at their core. Making art provides uncomfortably accurate feedback about the gap that inevitably exists between what you intended to do and what you did.

To all viewers but yourself, what matters is the product, the finished artwork. To you and you alone, what matters is the process, the experience of shaping that artwork. The viewers’ concerns are not your concerns. Their job is whatever it is, to be moved by art, to be entertained by it, whatever.

Your job is to learn to work on your work.

This resonates with me. I say in the introduction that writing is fun and I want to get better at it, and the only way to get better at it is to keep doing it.

They say the viewers’ concerns are not my concerns, but when I make these podcasts, I do want them to be useful to you.

That’s why the only thing that really matters to me is that I end with a takeaway. To make sure I do that, I promise one in the intro. I tell you that I’ll leave you with a writing challenge or a prompt. The episodes are only a few minutes long so I think it would be really noticeable if there wasn’t one.

But the main reason I do these podcasts is to change myself into someone that makes good podcasts.

So my challenge to you in this episode is to notice your own progression as a writer. Go and read your earliest work and compare that to your latest.

Don’t read it as your audience. Read it as the maker—to notice your own skill at writing and how well you delivered on your intention. Look to see that you’re developing your ability to use the tools of a writer.

You are the only one who knows what you were trying to do, and so when you consume your own work, you are the only one who will really understand that difference between what you were trying to do and what you did. You are the only one who will understand how that difference is shrinking over time as you become a better writer.

So compare your old work to you new work and notice the areas where you developed your skills.

Thanks for listening. This has been Write While True, a podcast where we’re okay with infinite loops as long as they’re fun.