How to not suck

Tonight, I drew my first drawing in months, while waiting to buy grapes and carrots at Costco. Where and when can you dedicate 4 minutes to breaking through your fear of failure?

I’ve been waiting for months to gather the brain-power, the wherewithal and the inspiration to write something profound. I really want to have a blog, but have identified my fear of “not doing it right” as a primary obstacle.

As with anything new, I am filled with trepidation. I don’t know what to say; I don’t know if anyone will care; I don’t know if it will be “any good.” Self-doubt is pervasive in most of my creative efforts. Fortunately years ago, I gave myself permission to be “no good” when I start something new. The beginning carpenter may cut crooked planks, the beginning mechanic may crease a gasket, and a toddler sucks at walking as s/he takes their first steps. We all suck when we’re new at stuff. It’s essential in the trial-and-error process of becoming an expert. So I call that “getting the suck out of the way.” 

This has been a touchstone in many of my creative projects. I have used this technique/attitude to improve my painting. And to create performance pieces. And to perform guitar in front of people. And now, to write a blog. Surely there will be supportive people out there who say, “hey, this post doesn’t suck!” — that’s not the point. The key is: I want to make this thing happen. I want to write. I want to get better.

What is one of my main obstacles? Worrying that I’ll suck at it. So I give myself permission to suck. I tell myself it is normal to suck at something new. I fully expect that after a few entries, after I’ve gotten my feet wet at this, I will be getting the “suck” out of the way.

Whenever I talk to people who tell me they wish they could be “artistic,” I ask them why aren’t they? “Oh, I’m just not talented!” I call “malarkey.” I had an interest, I took classes in high school and college. I pored over art books. I spent many formative years trying to get the “suck” out of the way. When I look back at my old sketchbooks? I sucked. When did that change? When I started to take classes. When did my art start really getting better? When I started really doing a lot of it.

When I guide people to access their creativity, I recommend they just do it. Whatever it is, just do it. It may suck at first; it may not. But you will NEVER get to the good stuff if you don’t get the suck out of the way. So give yourself permission to suck!

2 thoughts on “How to not suck

  1. Thank you for writing this. I constantly wallow in the the fear of the suck. No more my friend! From now on I will Nike my passions and just do it!!!

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