I was talking to a lovely young lady about how I hoped the writing that I’m doing at the moment is the worst writing I’ll ever do. The thinking behind this being that one day I’d like to be actually quite good at this sort of stuff, and right now everything I write feels like a big pile of poo rather than anything someone would actually like to read. She told me that it didn’t matter whether what I wrote was crap or not, as long as it was the best crap that I could do.
That makes sense, but living up to your potential is a scary idea. I’ve always felt that potential was something that should be kept in a box under your bed, saved for the day you might need it, like that one good pair of underwear which gets saved for a date. The problem is I’ve been saving up potential ever since my high school reports could be simplified to “has failed to live up to his potential” and I’ve really not been on all that many dates.
So here I am writing this now. I have to write for my other, more boring, blog later. I’m putting together a collection of serious(ish), very dark short stories, which includes topics such as abortion, cancer, and tentacles growing out of the nose of the girl I love. It looks like I’m going to be co-writing a sitcom and the other day I woke up after a night drinking to find myself in an 80s cover band (which means that I need to learn how to play bass guitar properly). All of this may turn out to be shit. I might only get the odd chuckle or a solitary like on Facebook. So fucking what? I’ll have had a fuckload of fun doing those things, and the end product may be crap but it’ll be the best crap I can do.
I reckon that I’m not the only person out there who’s been failing to live up to potential, who’s been putting off the things that matter for the things that don’t. It’s time to go for it, to stop ourselves from being too awesome by making sure we fuck up from time to time. Mediocrity is an average and I don’t want the average to be made up of randomly muddling along, I want my mediocrity to be made up of absolute success and glorious failure. I’m not sure which scares me most. Success probably – I’d end up with performance anxiety or something.
So while it may all end in embarrassing failure, the same is likely to happen anyway. You’re a loser now and you’ll be a loser tomorrow. It doesn’t matter whether you fail; it matters whether you fail on your terms.
So this is a call to arms to anyone who has ever wanted to do something creative: fucking do it, take the plunge, put on your date night underwear and dive straight in. Just make sure it’s the best crap you can do.
Image courtesy of adulau