A week or so ago, I watched a short series of youtube videos featuring Ira Glass speaking about being creative, telling stories, and so on. A few key takeaways from those (for me) were:
1) Your good taste is not only what drives you to create, but what shows you that you suck. A lot of what you make will suck for a very, very long time. The people who don’t suck are the ones who manage to outlast this, which is hard.
2) A story can be thought of as an anecdote and a message. A bad story could have a lame anecdote and a lousy message, or an awful anecdote leading up to something surprisingly profound, or even a fantastic anecdote with nothing interesting to say at the end. A really good story is not just compelling to listen to, it also teaches you something neat when you’re done.
Reading this post on the other side of the moon, there’s a fantastic anecdote, and (I encourage you to go read it before you move on – it isn’t long!) a very worthy message. As someone coming onboard to an open source project, it seems to me to be chock-full of useful advice.
The ultimate message is copied here below, because I hadn’t seen it stated succinctly before. As the TED slogan puts it:
I believe that this is an idea worth spreading:
When it comes to hacking on opensource software, none of age, gender, race, country of origin, or how you look matters. All that matters is a pleasant attitude to your fellow developers, a willingness to keep at it and learn as you go, the drive to not give up when things don’t go your way, and the ability to tell the difference between an idea and the one who has it.
Thank you for your insight, bluesmoon.