Create Something Terrible Today
giving yourself the license to fail

In ironic fashion, I procrastinated writing this piece because I wanted it to be “perfect”, but perfection be damned. If anything, this is the perfect opportunity to prove a point, even to myself: you don’t need to make something amazing, or heck, even something mediocre.

Make something awful. Something truly terrible. I dare you to. I don’t care if I turn to stone if I catch even a mere glimpse of it. If you want to create it, then create it.

It’s a sad thing nowadays: with hobbyists and amateurs sharing spaces with professionals, there’s suddenly this compulsion to make things more “professional”, more “high-quality”, and as a result, we hold back ourselves from creating things that we want to create. We become intimidated and scared. And for what?

Why is the first instinct to compare ourselves with professionals? Why does everything that we create and display on the Internet always seen in the light of business, or seen as something “profitable”? As if everything that we create has to be purchased or praised. Enough with ludicrous expectations.

Creating something bad isn’t even the exception, it’s the norm. It’s the rite of passage to making something decent, or dare I say… something that’s actually good. Because how could you create something good if you never experienced making something truly, and I meant truly awful? Something that even you, as the creator, can’t stand looking at.

As children, it was inevitable. We can look back at ourselves and see how incredibly oblivious and naive we were. The things we created? Ghastly. Unthinkable. “Did I really create that? No way…”

But you did, and did your child-self care? Not in the slightest. They probably reveled in smashing the literal crap out of that crayon on that piece of paper, or hearing that wild cacophony of bashed piano keys. Likely thought of it as a masterpiece, even.

And while we now have the self-awareness that yes, what we created then, and will create now and in the future, is likely not going to be good, it doesn’t mean that we can’t try—it also doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy trying, either.

There were plenty of instances where I gave up trying to create something good and went completely off-the-wall, having no care in the world, expecting the worst, and I ended up with something better. The expectation of creating something good can literally choke the good out of the work.

No one told you that you had limited amount of tries to get that piece of artwork right, or that musical composition, or that essay/article. This isn’t a game with an arbitrary ruleset. The amount of tries that you have is the amount that you are willing to give yourself. Whether you’re generous or ruthless is dependent solely on yourself.

It’s not a matter of if you’re going to create something awful, but when. Some “talented” people created all their trash when they were young, and now that they’re more experienced, have moved on to creating great work.

So why wait? Create something terrible today, and tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow, so that when you look back, you can say that while your work now isn’t good, it wasn’t as terrible as it was back then.

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