In order to accomplish anything, you have to be willing to fail. It’s the one common trait among all successful people.
For writers, that means putting yourself out there. Publish that blog, make that reel, tweet that joke…before you’re confident it’s ready.
Doing bad work publicly is a powerful tool.
In fact, it’s the only way.
Too often we don’t do anything for fear that we can’t yet do it well enough.
The truth is, you may be right. You probably aren’t yet as good as you’ll need to be to achieve the measure of success you long for. But for writers, practicing your craft publicly is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal to improve yourself.
Here are three secret advantages to doing bad work publicly.
1. Productive routines are more important than quality, every time.
Healthy routines will move you to better quality faster than great quality will move you to healthy routines.
Read that again.
When you’re starting out, you need momentum more than you need quality.
In my experience working with aspiring authors, they are far more likely to fail due to an inability to consistently do the work than they are to suffer from a lack of ideas, creativity, or talent. Most authors fail because they don’t execute consistently, plain and simple.
I’ve seen bad writers reach their goals because they execute consistently. But I’ve never once seen a talented person reach their goals without producing anything.
The first thing you need to improve is your consistency. Forcing yourself to produce bad work will teach you to execute no matter what, and that’s huge.
2. Bad work begins a feedback loop.
When you produce something, anything, you have the opportunity to assess your results and improve. When you produce nothing, all you have is a sadistic, self-defeating guessing game inside of your own head.
If you don’t produce anything, you’re just chasing phantom success markers based on your own insecurities.
When you produce work, even if it’s terrible, you can measure it. Suddenly, you can even hear what other people think about it. You couldn’t do either of those things when it was all only in your head.
As Jodi Picoult famously said, “You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”
When it comes to creative work, something is always better than nothing.
3. You just may surprise yourself.
One of the best signs that you’re actually a good writer is that you’re pretty sure your writing is crap.
Everyone who produces creative content struggles to know if their stuff is actually any good. But when you produce work, you may just be surprised.
So start a better routine today. Post something, somewhere. Start small, but create a consistent, sustainable routine. Then just push that publish button, go for it, even if turns your stomach in knots.
In time, you’ll become accustomed to that risk, and some of that agitation you feel will dissipate. You’ll become accustomed to taking risks, which means you can push yourself even further. Before long, you’ll be comfortable with risk of failure.
If you commit yourself to consistency, your work will improve. It’s the best way.
Every person in history who reached big goals did so only at the risk of failure. It’s time to join their ranks.
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