Go with the “Gut Churn.”

I read a great post today by Jab Abumrad, co-creator of WNYC’s Radiolab, one of my all-time favorite public-radio shows. I found the link on copyblogger.

In the post, Abumrad basically recounts the scary process of creating a radio show from scratch, developing the show’s unique personality. (If you have never heard an episode of Radiolab, it’s heavily-produced and incredibly rhythmic. It just sounds different than anything on radio.)

In the beginning of his piece, he describes the feeling he got when being handed a new, as-yet undeveloped radio show as “Gut Churn.”

He explains it this way: “It’s impending death but it’s also the thing we all want: profound freedom.”

What I love about this entire post (and the whole thing is definitely worth reading) is the honesty with which he shares the intimidation he felt while creating.

Many creatives, myself included, tend to think that the reason why we’re intimidated by the as-yet unwritten or un-produced bit of work is because we’re just not up to it, that we’re somehow in over our heads.

Yet, more often than not, once the work is done, we realize we had the skill and the knowledge it took to make the work great all along.

So, how do we avoid this “Gut Churn” Abumrad describes?

I don’t think we can. As this article points out, “Gut Churn” is a pretty normal part of the creative process even the best of the best sometimes feel. Abumrad simply worked through his. In the process, new ideas emerged and Abumrad and his team captured them and used them to their advantage. The result is that, after ten successful years of producing Radiolab, the show’s staff continues to take calculated risks and to battle intimidation, and sometimes trepidation, in the process.

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