It’s a Probability Game

I was catching up on The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon (one of my favorite shows), and his one and only guest for the evening was Bruce Springsteen. I’d never heard The Boss speak, so I was pleased to find he was extremely knowledgeable and articulate.

One of his comments really stuck with me. Jimmy asked him how he continues to come up with such great music, and he answered that you just have to keep writing. He said that 90% of what you write is no good. So if you can turn out 12 good songs every 2 years, you can imagine what you spend the rest of the time doing.

I think his comments really apply to anything in the creative process. It certainly feels like an accurate commentary on writing. You may have heard similar comments from successfully published authors such as Jane Yolen commenting on how many manuscripts they have sitting in a desk, unpublished.

There was something about how he said it (sometimes I can hear the same thing multiple times, but just say it a different way and it may finally click with me). It means that even highly successful artists and creative people fail. Repeatedly. And that for the creative process to succeed, we have to keep going. We have to keep learning, trying, and producing.

So I figure that if I keep writing (which I love, anyway), keep revising, and keep submitting, something will click. My success may not be as breakthrough as Born to Run, but a girl can dream right?

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2 thoughts on “It’s a Probability Game

  1. Very well said. I see this in my line of work; creating design after design to develop a good product. I am new to this and have worked as a team through around 10 conceptual iterations and the final product still has not been established.

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