September 28th, 2021
Someone close to me shared a video of a TED Talk about anxiety yesterday morning. I am nothing if not consistently anxious; if anxiety were an electrical current, I am always at a level where you would receive a static shock if you tapped on my shoulder.
Beyond describing the different forms and severities of anxiety, the speaker detailed ways to deal with it. One of the phrases she used has been a motto of mine since I independently discovered it when I was a kid:
“Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” — G. K. Chesterton
It’s a widely-shared quote, and it is an essential tool in dealing with things like anxiety, perfectionism, and Imposter Syndrome, which I more than dabble in daily. I would confess to being a professional in those fields.
I’ve written about this before, but that quote goes hand-in-hand with my perspective that my worst book is better than your best idea and that is an objective fact, simply because one exists in our shared reality and one does not. (This is despite what reviews say, because there are reviews out there that perhaps some of my words should have just stayed in my head.)
When people ask me how they can become a writer, I tell them to write, and I don’t ever mean that in a flippant or condescending way. I mean it as the single most important thing you can do, and not just as a writer.
Because “write” could mean anything. “Write” could mean “make your bed.” “Write” could mean “take a shower.” “Write” could mean “say something nice to someone today.” “Write” could mean “go outside and pet a dog.” “Write” could mean “find or give happiness in some small way.”
“Write” means “do something.”
And when I tell someone to write, even if they don’t feel like it, even if what they’re writing isn’t very good, what I’m telling them is:
“Do something not perfectly.”
And when I tell them to put as much as themselves into the work as they can, what I am saying is:
“You are not perfect, you will never be perfect, but you are perfectly you, and there will never be another one of you in the history of any universe.”
Life is meaningless; thus, we give it meaning by doing stuff. Stuff that nobody else can do.
Doing something won’t always feel better than doing nothing, at least not in the moment. But feeling something, anything, is always better than feeling nothing.
Yeah, even feeling anxiety.
So this is your reminder to write today. And by write I mean — well, you know what I mean.