Giving Yourself Permission To Be Mediocre

Having disappeared for a week, I’ll make my return by talking about why it’s important to give yourself permission to be mediocre.

I was thinking about this last week when I was brushing my teeth before work. I’ve been frustrated a lot during my student teaching, because it’s been a long time since I’ve struggled at something, since I’ve been bad at something. And I really, really hate being bad at things.

Which made me think of writing. I mean, I go back through my draft, and cringe, because it’s really, really bad. I mean, what was I even thinking?

But then I’m going through my draft, and I know how to fix things, to make them better. And I wouldn’t even know how to fix those things if I didn’t even have the horrendous draft in front of me, right?

So, even though it’s completely painful, you have to give yourself permission to be bad at things. Because being bad at something – writing, teaching, whatever other things you’re trying to do – is just the first step to being good at things, to being great at things. Because being bad at something, means at least you’ve made the decision to try, which is the only way to get anywhere in the first place.

Road Trip Wednesday: Why I Write

This week’s topic is…
What’s your numero-uno reason for writing?
I think my Number One reason for writing is rooted in when I started writing during middle school. I was constantly moving around because my dad was in the military, so I was also the new kid, and I was also really shy, so I had a hard time making friends. And throw into the mix the fact that I was bullied in 8th grade (right around the time I started writing my first longer story)…well, basically, the whole reason I started writing in the first place is that even if there weren’t very many people who were there for me in real life, my imagination never abandoned me. My characters were my friends even when I had none.
I’m not that shy, awkward 13-year-old anymore. But my main reason for writing hasn’t really changed all that much. Even when life gets really, really crappy (which it has, on occasion, the past few years), the story and my characters and their world is still there. When school and work and the whole learning how to be a grownup thing all get to be too much, it’s all there. If things are confusing or whatever…well, there’s a whole folder of poetry on my computer that is a testament to me trying to work through things in the only way I know how. I have boxes and boxes of journals in my closet that are the same thing. There are scenes in Shards of Memory that I can point to and tell you they are pulled directly from my adolescence.
Basically…I write because I have to.
Currently Listening To: Florence + The Machine – “You’ve Got The Love” 

This is probably the closest thing to a plot I will have.

I came up with a summary for my (still untitled) NaNovel. I wrote it at like 7 in the morning pre-coffee, so it’s pretty less than spectacular awesome. And may or may not be coherent. Here is is:

Several centuries after World War III destroys modern civilization, humankind has finally managed to rebuild society on the principal that difference caused all of human history’s problems and therefore is not allowed to exist. In this society, people are tested to see which path would best suit their abilities; 18-year-old Haylee has tested into the bureaucracy. However, when her father is put on trial and executed for witchcraft, she starts questioning the people she’s spent her whole life preparing to work for. And when she is invited to a meeting by Arthur, one of her coworkers, she finds herself sucked into a plot to take down their government from the inside. It’s a dangerous game she’s playing…will she make it out with her life intact?

Nothing like a little life or death action to make things more exciting, right?

Currently Listening To: Britney Spears – “If U Seek Amy”

Progress Report: Shards of Memory

I hit 30k on Sunday night, which is about 60% of the way toward completion. So I took a moment to dance around my room a bit.

I think my roommate was probably relieved that I finished that scene I was working on because I’d been listening to the same song over and over and over again on repeat for the past two hours. And since she doesn’t quite share my taste in music, she was probably really sick of it.
The song I listened to through that entire last scene was “Dance Me To The End Of Love” by The Civil Wars, because it just seemed to fit so well with what I was writing and was therefore the only song I could possibly listen to that wouldn’t through off my groove.

I haven’t been able to write as much as I’d like lately, but I’ve been doing better so far this quarter blocking out time in my schedule to write. And when I do sit down to write, it’s coming easier. I think now that I’m past the halfway point – so more of this thing is done than not done – I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, so I’m starting to feel really excited about finishing this draft.
Also, it totally helps that stuff is totally happening and things are really about to hit the fan soon. I might be a little sadistic. My poor characters.
Anyway, it’s after my bedtime now. So I’d probably better go sleep. After I finish my laundry. Which I sort of forgot about in the midst of awkwardly dancing around my room. Oops.

Currently Listening To: Bon Iver – “Holocene”