Follow me:

Career + How to be a Beginner & Why You Need to Learn

Doesn’t starting all over again suck sometimes? In our early twenties, a lot of us are beginners. We don’t have 3-5 years of full-time professional experience, and we rarely have a lot of artistic experience yet.


As someone who was essentially job searching for over a year, and who has felt like they’ve restarted their creative endeavors (this blog) multiple times it’s frustrating to feel like such a beginner. But slowly I’m learning that being a beginner is an art, and once you embrace it and learn how to be a beginner it gets much better.

This quote was what made me rethink being a beginner:

“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.

It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

-Ira Glass

So I want you to go back and reread this again. You have to keep creating in order to get better, you have to push through the doubts and the pain of it not quite being good enough.

How to be a beginner? Like this.


Expect Failure. And Embrace It

No one who succeeded big in life has ever done so without failing once or twice before hand. Go in with your all, but remember that sometimes not everything works out. When you fail, ask why? What could you have done differently, what did you do incorrectly? Embrace the fact that you failed, and then move on. If you need to stew in it for a little while, you should! Sometimes I need a glass (or bottle) of wine, some popcorn and a movie to deal with everything that just happened. Wallow, then put get up and start again.

Always be Learning

Even with a college degree, or a certification, or a lot of success at a young age you have to keep learning. Take an e-course, a class at a tech school, or an online course. Ask a co-worker to lunch and talk to them about their part of the business. Read the newspaper, and online sites. Go on Youtube and learn how to make your own desk, it doesn’t have to do with your day job or side-hustle. In fact it shouldn’t, because you should flex your different muscles every once in awhile.

Ask Lots of Questions

Are you confused? Not sure what’s happening? Looking for a little guidance? Ask.some. questions. If you don’t know which one to ask, Google it. Ask your friend, but don’t just wait for someone to give you the answer.

Start Somewhere

You want to work in public relations, or in social media? Are you looking to get into medicine or some other industry? You have to start somewhere! Start writing, researching, and meeting with people. Go exploring around where you live, take videos and photos of people you know. Once you start you’ll figure it out from there.

Don’t Stop

On the days that you fail or get discouraged, on the days that the last thing you’d want to do it to write a blog post, finish your short story or edit your work.  Take care of yourself, but don’t choose television over your passion project. Keep going until you’re proud, until you’re not a beginner.


Do you know the best thing about being  beginner, is that you have all of this time ahead of you to get better. You’re capable of amazing things, and I believe that you are amazing. You will get out of this beginner stage, and one day you’ll look back at all of the bad what ever you did realizing it was just a part of your journey.

Need some more inspiration or want to read some more? Read You Are a Badass and Big Magic if you haven’t already.

What do you like or dislike about being a beginner?



Previous Post Next Post

You may also like

  • mckenna bleu

    I love that quote! This post is so right!

  • Hannah Stark

    I love your thoughts on excepting failure. This isn’t something that many people grasp the concept of but it happens all the time. My failures are the things that motive me to want to get out there and try again. Thanks for sharing:)

    xoxo, Hannah

    • Ashley Vickney

      My failures have been so important, and I know our failures make us stronger women!

  • Elly Leavitt

    this is such good advice! I’ve been (technically) looking for a permanent job for around half a year now and while I’ve been doing internships to fill my CV it’s def frustrating not being able to get a foot in the door because I’m a “beginner”. love these tips! consistency is key xx

  • I really love this post! These things could even apply to things you’re not a beginner at – they’re just so important!

  • Jamie

    Totally relate to this post. Started my first “adult” job in August, and it was such a learning curve. I was always asking questions, and sometimes failing. Even now, almost 6 months later I still feel like the new girl, and am definitely going to be feeling like a beginner for awhile!
    You definitely have to start somewhere!

    xx, Jamie

  • Greta Hollar

    A new year is a great time to be a beginner! I’m always starting over in some aspect so I always feel like a beginner. You give great advice here!

    Greta |

  • Ashley Mason

    Love this post, Ash, and I totally relate! After being a “beginner” when I started my business in September, I have done so much research and learning. I don’t feel like an “expert,” but I definitely feel like I’ve mad a lot of progress. Everyone needs to start somewhere!

  • Carly Ned

    Love this post! I’m a beginner with my job, with my blog, and with some relationships! I’m consistently trying to learn and grow. xx

  • Love this post. So needed it when I started my first job. Luckily, this can still apply even if you’re not a beginner.

  • Amy

    This is great! I’m starting my first internship tomorrow and this has been super helpful!


    Amy | Pastel N Pink

  • Ashley, I LOVE this post! It is so true. My aunt got me a really nice camera for graduation (4 years ago… I’m old), and I was so intimidated by it. I’m still not amazing at photography, but it’s fun to look back on how much my photos have improved (mostly because I stopped shooting everything in manual! Haha) and I’m really hopeful that they will continue to! Haha

    XO, SS || Seersucker Sass

  • Michelle mink

    I love the encouragement about not stopping. One of the most exciting parts for me when I try something new is doing the research. I love learning.