One of my creative friends was running 15 minutes late to meet me at a coffee shop. As I waited for her, I nursed my mug of Earl Grey and let the steam fog up my glasses. When she arrived and sat down, I noticed the ink stains on her fingers. As a writer, she prefers to fill journals and journals with her writing rather than use a computer.
“I don’t know why,” she told me as I asked her about her preference. “It just feels more real. Using a computer feels mechanical.”
On top of being an excellent writer, she was also incredibly perceptive. Her ability to perceive the feelings of others was immediately put to use when she sat down, looked me in the face and said, “Ok. Tell me what’s wrong.”
After recovering from the initial shock of being “found out,” I explained to her that my own writing (I write songs) had taken a turn for the worse. I couldn’t necessarily call what I had “writer’s block” because I was putting in the work of writing regularly. I wasn’t producing anything good.
“Everything I’ve been writing lately has been corny, cliché, and just plain bad!” I exclaimed, throwing my arms up in the air for added drama. “What do I do?”
“Write.” She said.
“Huh?” I replied.
She explained that as important as it is to make good art, it’s equally important to make bad art. Making mistakes was essential to my growth as an artist. Furthermore, embracing those mistakes could keep me from developing the kind of perfectionism known to be the artist’s death. She assured me that what I was going through was normal. She also assured me that I’d eventually get over this hump if I didn’t give up.
I left the coffee shop that day with a new resolve: I’m going to continue writing (even the bad stuff). Because in the end, even the bad stuff is better than nothing.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV).
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