This is your Saturday pep talk.
Today’s topic is: Creating garbage.
Producing bad work is always going to be better than producing nothing. The idea of making trash can twist something dark and nasty in the gut, but making garbage does not mean that you are garbage. You don’t have to get it right on the first try– and if you don’t try at all, you’re never going to get it right.
Make your bad work. Burn it, smash it, bury it in the garden, abandon it when you hit a dead end, pack it away in a box labeled ‘practice’. Don’t worry about making it good yet, just make it.
I guess the trouble here is what if you don’t improve, what then? Then you just have poor work and a lot of wasted energy, don’t you?
I really (have to) believe that no effort is wasted, but you reminded me of an important point:
Make garbage that you enjoy. Have yourself a fantastic time making it. The idea of allowing yourself to make bad work is really to stop stressing and start playing. If it’s something that you love doing, then either a) you’ll improve just by doing and end up taking risks and doing more interesting things because ‘failure’ has been removed from the equation b) your work will always be garbage but you’ll be happy doing it. I wish more people did things that they loved but don’t have an immediate aptitude for. I wish I did more things that I suck at, unapologetically, because they make me happy.
I think that we’ve been lead to believe that if we do not immediately show talent in a given area that we should quit. This shit kills me. I’ve lost count of the number of times that someone who is about to draw something in front of me apologizes for their lack of skill. If you ask a child if they can draw, usually they unselfconsciously bust out their crayons and draw you a sick giraffe.
At what point were we taught that if we’re not good at something right away, we’ll always be bad at it? When were we taught so much shame for trying to do things that we enjoy but aren’t naturals at?
Improvement may be slow. Sometimes it goes in leaps and then horrible, soul-sucking plateaus. But people who dedicate themselves to trying, as far as I have seen, always get better. Even if it’s not by much, so what? I say make your garbage. Enjoy your garbage. If something makes you happy, it’s not a waste of time.