I’m Cool With Being Bad

All the things I am good at, I started off being bad at. I have put a ton of time into becoming a better storyteller, orally. Talking comes naturally to me. Speaking clearly and, more importantly, thoughtfully, is something where I’ve invested my attention. I wasn’t always good speaker, but I wanted to be.

On the other hand, I struggle with writing. I’m not a great writer, but I want to be a good one. These are the first steps to being great at anything.

  • The self awareness to identify your own weakness
  • The vision of an improved version of yourself

The final step is doing whatever you can to get there. Finding tools to help. Practicing. An unwavering determination to succeed. For me to improve my writing I do what feels most comfortable for me. Talking.

I capture my thoughts into Google Docs using iOS dictation. This makes starting (usually the hardest part) a bit less of a wall. From there I can thoughtfully refine drafts.

I’ve read books and blog posts on writing to help me improve. I’ve learned that 90% of writing is rewriting. Great writers not only have a way with words, but they carefully craft, and re-craft and perfect their writing until the final draft. This revision process has allowed me to practice iterating on each sentence, paragraph and thought.

I share drafts with friends and co-workers for their input and advice. A peer review system has helped me keep the reader and audience in mind. As well as improve flow and direction of the story.

Over the last few years, I have practiced writing short clear emails for clients and team members. I worked on writing explicit tickets and requirements for my dev team. And now I have accepted the challenge to write concise well articulated blog posts.

The first step in being good at anything, prototyping, a programming language, cooking, exercising, etc, is recognizing you are bad at it. It’s ok to be bad, because that means you are on your way to being good.