The Secret to Writing Well? Give Yourself Permission to Suck.
Writing for an audience is intimidating.
Give yourself permission to suck at it.
There is no pressure. The page doesn’t expect anything from you. The reader doesn’t even exist yet, so forget about them. That weight on your shoulders? You placed it there. Don’t expect perfection from yourself. Nothing you write will in and of itself change the face of the planet. Not immediately at any rate.
You are not the greatest writer in the world - and that’s OK. None of the great literary artists have – irrespective of the quality of their creations – consistently been “the best in the world.” Almost all though, without exception, were persistent.
Stop aiming for perfection, and settle for persistence. One article, essay, novel or draft in front of the other. Writing and life have a lot in common like that: the changes you notice in each tend to be incremental. Improvement is almost imperceptible. Give yourself permission to suck at writing, and you’ll find you rarely do actually suck.
The best writing you ever do will come out of the freedom you give yourself to fail. Stop trying to prove to yourself that you’re a writer by constantly aiming for perfection.
When I began writing this article, I really didn’t give a sh*t about how it would turn out. Neither should you. Is this piece any good? That’s for you to decide. But I do know that there is a lot more of me in here than there would have been if I couldn’t have gotten over my obsession with perfection. And I think that’s a good thing.
Now hop off that high horse and go write some more.
If you feel like a writer, you probably are.
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