Is this good? Does this suck? Answer: Irrelevant

A page from Lynda Barry's "What It Is".

A page from Lynda Barry’s “What It Is”.

I’m struggling with this post.  Ironically enough, I’m trying to write a post on writer’s block.  So, having writer’s block about writer’s block…kind of dumb, right?  Since starting this Zero to Hero blogging process (and thinking about the upcoming A to Z Challenge in April), I’ve been thinking a lot about creativity and what it takes to keep pushing through blocks.  It has been a long time since I’ve pushed myself creatively, and I’m afraid that it will wane at some point, as it always does.  Yesterday I found a blog called Year of Creative Habits, by Crystal Moody.  Every day, she posts pictures of drawings that she’s made in a small notebook while having breakfast.  On day 17/365, she included this quote by Lynda Barry:

The two questions [i.e., Is this good? Does this suck?] came from trying to write something good and not getting very far because I had forgotten that trying to write something good before I write anything at all is like refusing to give birth unless you know for sure it is going to be a very good baby.

What struck me about this is that being either good or sucking is not really a part of the creative process.  Yet somehow, we let these two questions drive our ability to create.  We either create, or we don’t.  We do, or we don’t.  For some of us, creating is something we need to do.  It’s the same as eating, sometimes even breathing.  But we don’t say to ourselves, am I good at eating?  What if I suck at eating?  And we certainly don’t let the answers to those questions (should we even ask them) stop us from eating.  We might not be hungry all the time, nor will we like everything we eat or like the way food makes us feel when we eat something naughty (oh, and I do love you, bacon egg and cheese McGriddle).  But at some point, we have to eat.

If I accept the fact that I have to eat, I can come to the conclusion that just by eating, I am a good eater.  And in the same way, just by creating something, I am a successful creator.  Whether it sucks or not is irrelevant.

Generally, it’s not the lack of ideas that get it my way, it’s that nasty little voice in the back of my head telling me that the ideas that I have suck, so I should just not waste my time by writing them down. And in that respect, my ideas are dismissed, shot down, disregarded as soon as they come so that it feels like I don’t have any ideas, or at least no good ones.  Please remind me to read this post next time I get writer’s block, m’kay?  Or better yet, do YOU have a way to overcome writer’s block?  Please share it with me in a comment!

Related post:  In the Presence of Greatness at Comic-Con

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