Why don’t you just write something crappy?

I’m the type of person who tries to say things in as few words as possible but has no problems making gratuitous use of pictures. I like pictures. They say things for you, are quick to produce, and aren’t intimidating.  I take pictures of myself, my friends, my cat, my work, my play, my travels, and my food. Lots of yummy food. At one point in my life, I lost a good chunk of weight, but I didn’t lose my habit of taking food pictures. So maybe it shouldn’t have come as such a surprise when a friend asked me one day “How are you losing weight while eating nothing but junk all day?”

“Huh? I don’t. What makes you think that?”

“I see pictures of desserts all over your Instagram and Facebook.”

“Oh, that’s just because desserts are cute. Who wants to take pictures of chicken and spinach?”

A photo posted by Lucy G Liang (@lucygliang) on

It was a quick and tidy conversation, but it did make me think about how I was misrepresenting my eating habits online, as though I could eat all the cake in the world and not get fat. This was interesting, because I had once thought the same of other people too. This isn’t about food porn or dieting though. This is about a kind of awareness of our tendency to present the best version of ourselves to the world, our “badass” selves, such that the world believes that that’s our average selves.

“Huh, I don’t feel like a badass” I’d say. Actually, most of the time I feel more like a dumbass. Maybe there’s a shortage of the “dumbass” side of ourselves that deserves to be seen. It’s sort of hard to capture your dumbass moments on camera though, unless your friend’s taking them, in which case sharing those would be a completely different level of assery. Personally, I don’t tend to think “Oh, I just called this person by the wrong name twice and made a fool of myself. Hold on, better take a selfie!” (This literally happened today. The name thing, not the selfie thing.) It’s a little more internal and experiential than that. So I’m going to write about mine instead.

 

procrastination

Okay, honesty time. I’ve been claiming to start a blog for almost a year now. Yeah, I was that person who cried [insert aspiration]. “No, really. I’m going to do it this time!” “Okay okay, this time for sure.” “Alright, tomorrow’s the day I … wait, come back. Where you going?” Yeah, that person. Then I had a few conversations that went like this:

“Why haven’t you started that blog yet?”

“I don’t know how to write something good!”

“Then why don’t you just write something crappy? That’s how you get better.”

“But I don’t have an expertise in anything to write about!”

“Then why don’t you just write about something you suck at?”

So there you have it. I will write crappy pieces on what I suck at – the dumbass moments, the chicken and spinach, the things we all know on a surface level that everyone experiences but don’t talk about enough to remember in times of actual need.  Like my fitness progress page, I want to be open and authentic with what’s really going on behind the scenes, not just the “after” shots. The internet has a lot of spectacular things, but I want to talk about the “foolish” and “stupid” things too (quotes intentional).

But wait, there’s more! It’s important to not just acknowledge your foolish moments, but also to analyze them, reframe them as feedback, and figure out how to deal with them if/when they occur again. Here’s the fun part. I have no idea if what I say and do will work or not. I have no idea if anything I try will help me reach some goal I desire. But damn do I have an interesting time exploring the boundaries of my comfort zone just to see what will happen next.

I’ve actually cited one such experience already: Talking about doing something for months on end and doing exactly nothing, each time feeling slightly more guilty about it, and each time making more excuses in attempt to offset that accumulating guilt.

What I took away from this:

When you find yourself repeating “I want to” with the same thing over and over again, it’s a sign that there is one or more unresolved issues, likely fear or apathy, to be addressed.

Most people say “I’m too lazy to do this” but it’s just another way of saying “I’m too apathetic to do this.” Personally, I think it’s ok to be apathetic about something and give yourself permission not to follow through, so long as you’re aware of making the conscious choice. In my case, I thought it was laziness at first, but digging deeper, it became clear that the real cause of the mental block was fear. Questions: “Why do you want to do it?” (to look for apathy) and “What’s stopping you?” (to look for fear)

Why do I want to do it? (Is it apathy?)

  • To push my comfort zone
  • To write my thoughts out so I can organize them and find useful patterns
  • To show how any dumbass moment can be reframed and/or utilized in a productive way

Conclusion: Not apathy

 

What’s stopping me? (Is it fear?)

  • Fear of judgement over lack of skill & expertise
  • Waiting for “the right moment”

Conclusions: Much fear

FYI, this exercise can apply to anything that we really want to do but just can’t seem to get started on. Fear of judgement is going to be a common theme in my writings, and “the right moment” is a myth deserving of its own blog post. The good news is that fear is simple, though admittedly not easy, to conquer. You just do more of the thing you fear until you get more comfortable. So now, digging deeper, the question evolves into:

Suppose those weren’t issues. Then what am I going to do?

  • Write something crappy.

We’ll see how this goes. 🙂

(For more fire-under-ass-lighting, my friend and lifelong learner Emily Carrion has an amazing weekly newsletter with all sorts of wise nuggets, one of which cited this article: Write it Anyway)

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