Aim To Be Awful…it’s the key to great writing



Family and friends have always known that I’ve harbored a secret desire to paint. It’s been on my to do list and last year I dived straight in.

Well, I say dived straight in but that isn’t really true. I looked at the watercolor paper, had the paints set out at the side of me and brush in hand, and I froze.

What if I’m truly awful at this, what if someone sees it and laughs thinking who is she kidding thinking she can paint.

Sound familiar?

It took me back to a time when I wanted to be a writer and I sat with pen and notebook waiting for the words to flow, the perfect prose, the story that everyone would fall in love with…and I froze. What if it was awful, what if people laughed at me.

I tell my students to just go for it and write, write, write and that’s because I’d forgotten what it’s like when you start something new and fear of being awful stops you from even getting started.

The whole I want to paint thing brought it rushing back to me.  I told myself I’d gotten over that fear with my writing and I should take my own advice and just go for it with the painting.

The results haven’t been masterpieces but no one’s laughed (yet!), and some pieces I’ll admit, have been awful, but when you keep on doing something pretty soon you’re no longer an amateur.

So if fear of being awful or being ridiculed is stopping you from writing, don’t let it. In fact, give yourself permission to be downright awful because it’s the only way you’re going to be a great writer someday.

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