Give Yourself Permission to Suck

Lately I’ve been wanting to experiment with different things. Things I feel like I’m late to the game on. Like learning how to play the guitar, write music, make videos, record podcasts. While these things aren’t out of my reach, I know that there are a lot of people who have been at it for a far longer time than I have.

The one thing I have consistently done ever since I was a kid was write. I don’t know if I”m a natural writer persay, although this is something my writing mentor once said to me. The late great Les Plesko, who was an inspiration to all his students, had this amazing memory for all his students’ work. And he was always encouraging, no matter how bad you felt your work was.  I remember writing this email to him expressing my insecurities about being a “real writer,” and here’s his response:

“Yeah well I’m insecure about writing too, and I’ve been at it a little while now. What is a literary person, anyway? Anyhow, when you write, you are always already WRITING FOR REAL, you know what I mean? But in any case, all the above is fairly irrelevant. The FACT is that you are a terrific writer (you’ll just have to take my word for it, but I’ve had a thousand students, literally, so I kind of have a feel for it). So, anyway, just keep writing, okay? Anyway, what’s the other option? Not to? Eventually, you’ll be sorry you didn’t pursue it.

And PS: Every writer starts the same way, that is, not having written before. As far as reading, so, keep reading! Listen, you’re a swell writer; keep going.

And I did keep going. And guess what? I got better at it. And while there’s a lot more to learn, I feel like I am a far more decent writer than I used to be.  

While writing will always be a part of my life, there are other things I would like to try out for size.

For me, it’s able being in touch with the wonder and joy of the world. And yes, we live in terrible times. Perhaps it’s an act of resistance to find the wonder, joy, and pleasure that this world has to offer.

So I am giving myself permission to suck. To get past the fear of being bad at something. Not just to eventually get proficient at it, but to actually enjoy the act of sucking. It’s freeing to try something for the sake of experimentation and leave self-judgment at the door. And in turn, I give you permission to suck. Try it, it’s a lot of fun.

For every one thing I am decent at, there are about 2 million things (or more) that I suck at. The possibilities are limitless at sucking!

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