When I first starting doing martial arts, I struggled with insecurity next to more experienced belts. I felt like, no matter how hard I worked at it, I’d never be that good. Everyone else seemed to pick up on things sooner and their techniques were so much more graceful than mine. A black belt gave me some great advice. She said that whenever I was tempted to compare myself to someone else, I should tell myself “I’m a white belt; I don’t need to know that yet.”
It was great advice because it *allowed* me to suck. My only job was to keep showing up and keep practicing the skills I’d be tested on next. Sure, I could aspire to be as confident and effective as those black belts I saw. But it was going to take time. And lots of bruises, tears and sweat. In the mean time, the joy was in the process and in the leap of trying something new.
I need to take this advice to heart these days. My work-in-progress is stalling out (curses, you monstrous middles!) and I find myself wondering if I’ll ever be good enough to pull it off. I look around and see so many others finishing their drafts, landing agents or publishing books. And here I sit – unable to get through my lousy rough draft.
But, hey, my job right now is to just keep showing up. Every day. Ready to fight with all my heart and to the best of ability.
I may not be new to writing, but I *am* new to writing fiction. So say it with me, “I’m a white belt; I don’t need to be brilliant yet!”