Thursday, 23 February 2012

wibbly wobbly

Jennie   Everyone learns the same rules before they go to college. Don’t go barefoot in the shower. Buy a hot pot and as much ramen as you can afford. Beer before liquor makes you sicker, liquor before beer, you’re in the clear. But no one tells you that you don’t have to have everything figured out right away. Or maybe they do, but you don’t believe them because you’re 18 and you think you know everything.

I wish someone had told me that I didn’t have to have everything figured out before moving forward on something, that I was allowed to make mistakes, and that even if when I made mistakes, things would be OK. EARTH TO JENNIE: it’s OK to make mistakes IT IS PART OF BEING A NORMAL HUMAN PERSON. Sometimes I feel like I’m stuck standing still, because I’m trying to plan the perfect course of action before I take the first step.

I was talking to a coworker recently who just finished a writing class. I asked him if he liked the class, if he thought it had helped him write more, write better. He was unsure. He said he likes hanging out with other writers but that, at some point, he needs to stop taking classes and just write, that he needs to stop hiding behind writing classes. He told me about his friend who wanted to be an actor, who took class after class, but had never been to one audition because he thought he wasn’t yet good enough.

And it comes down to a matter of confidence, really. At what point do you decide that not only are you good enough, but that you’re also good? Eventually you have to stop worrying about if you’re really ready and just DO. Just write, just act, just design the shit out of some Star Wars koozies, if that’s what you want. You’re never going to become an expert at something by reading everything ever written about the subject, you just aren’t. You have to get in there, get your hands dirty, give yourself permission to suck. Because, guess what? You’re going to suck for a while. I don’t care if you have the greatest ideas ever, your first attempt is going to be terrible. And that’s OK. The next one will be better. IT’S OK TO MAKE MISTAKES.

This is something I still struggle with so, yes, I wish someone had said this to me sooner. If only we could harness the power of the TARDIS or a DeLoreon or even Calvin’s cardboard box and create PastMe, the opposite of FutureMe. I’d spam the shit out of Past!Jennie with so much advice, you have no idea.



kat said...


eclectic said...

I am making this post required reading for my daughter. Like, assigning it as homework. Seriously.

Jennie said...


Shari, I don't know, I feel weird about influencing young minds in that way. Hee.

mysterygirl! said...

"Give yourself permission to suck" is tremendous advice.

Never That Easy said...

This is such fabulous advice: just start. Now I just have to follow it.

Kerri Anne said...

"Roads? Where we're going we don't need roads."