Beginner’s Mind: It’s Okay to Suck

Posted by on March 22, 2016

McKella Sawyer

It’s easy to look around at professional artists, writers, and performers and get intimidated. We might even get inspired by them and start a project, only to get really frustrated and quit when it’s not as “good” as what we see others doing.

Secret: Professional creators also make a lot of crap, and when I say “crap”, I mean stuff that isn’t super marketable or that not many people would like, or stuff they probably don’t like either.

I’m not going to put a value on that art, but masters had to screw up and get it wrong a lot to get as good as they are. You might read the completed novel, but you didn’t read all the crappy early drafts or watch the writer do endless edits or rewrite scenes and awkward parts. You haven’t seen the artist’s early attempts in their sketchbook.

Everybody starts out sucking at stuff, and that’s great!

I heard something once, and I don’t remember who said it, but it was something like “the difference between the master and the novice is that the master has failed more times than the novice has even tried.”

Another wise quote in the same vein is from the cartoon Adventure Time, and it is “Sucking at something is the first step to be sorta good at something.”

This is true. It’s ok to muck it up at first. Even good artists and writers still make stuff they aren’t happy with. I consider myself a good writer, but not everything I write is good. Some of it is absolute garbage actually, and that’s fine. It’s purpose is to teach me, to be building blocks for other stuff I’ll make.

Don’t be afraid to be lousy at it. Even “good” and “bad” are relative here, because sometimes the purpose of a piece is to just make it.

To have fun, to express, to experiment, and no one else but you even has to see it.

Never forget, the whole point of creativity is to have fun! Even if you try to draw a house and everyone thinks it looks like an exploded parrot, it’s okay as long as you had fun.

 

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