In the past couple of weeks I’ve started two blog posts that I haven’t published. One, I wrote the whole thing and left it to rot in the drafts folder, while the other I started, but had no idea where I was going to go with it so it’s taken up residence next to the first one, at least for now.
I’ve been writing a lot lately. Blog posts, outlines for podcasts, reports and other content for work, journal entries, and just a few words or sentences of an idea. Some of it is really good, but some of it is really bad.
I often feel a little taller and stronger when I write something good, especially when I can tell it’s good without waiting for feedback. When it’s bad, I feel frustrated and sometimes, a little smaller. The truth is that, on some level, I’m proud of all of it, even the stuff that is really awful.
Why? I’m proud of it because I wrote something. I took the time and put my thoughts down on paper or in digital form. I created something that didn’t exist a few minutes or hours earlier.
I’ve heard many times that you can’t create anything great without also creating stuff that sucks (okay, maybe not in those words) because you have to create a lot to create something great. In other words, you have to practice.
Now, in all honesty, some times you create a lot or practice a lot (say golf) and your work continues to suck. When we think that we’re bad at something we often think that we should stop doing it, but is that the right thing to do? That depends.
Do you hate doing it and / or keep sucking the same amount? Maybe you should stop and try something else, but …
Do you enjoy what you’re doing? Keep doing it.
Do you seem to suck less than you used to? Keep doing it.
Do others get enjoyment out of what you create? Keep doing it.
Do you get benefits from doing it other than the satisfaction of doing it well? Keep doing it.
Most of my writing is pretty good (I think) and I enjoy doing it, it improves the more I write, others seem to appreciate it whether it’s blog posts or something more formal. Writing hits all of the above points so I’m absolutely going to keep writing.
My golf game continues to suck but I oddly enjoy doing it, I may be getting a bit better (maybe not), I’m not sure anyone enjoys watching me golf, but it is a good workout (I walk the course). Golf hits maybe three, but possibly only two of those points, but at least two, with one being I enjoy it, tells me to keep doing it.
If you create or play a sport or try to practice any skill you won’t always be great at it and you may suck at it a lot of the time, but that doesn’t mean you should give up. Don’t get stuck on the idea of perfection or greatness of the final product. Focus on the greatness or even the goodness of the process. That is often the best part.