When I was little, there were lots of things that I knew that I wasn’t good at and it really bothered me. The only thing that I thought that I was maybe a little good at was writing, but this wasn’t something that was encouraged in my house so I gave it up.
What I didn’t understand was that it’s not just ok not to be good at something, sometimes it’s great to not be good. It gives you room to make mistakes and enjoy what you’re doing just for the sake of doing it. And sometimes you can get better. I was terrified of public speaking when I was young. I still get scared. My heart speeds up, but I speak to groups all the time and I’m pretty good at it. I’ll never be good at playing a musical instrument and I’m ok with that.
I recently took up painting (etegami) – sort of. Taking something up implies a level of dedication to it which I don’t yet have one week in. What I have noticed is that it’s already helped me create a daily routine. Once the kids are on the school bus, I sit down at my desk and paint. The whole ritual takes well under 5 minutes from creation to cleanup. One of my daughters suggested I take a class. I’m not going to. Maybe I’ll get better by keeping at it and maybe I won’t. I don’t care about the outcome. I’m enjoying the process and process is something that I struggle with.
Writing isn’t like this for me. It’s work and it’s love mixed into one thing. I’m working hard on improving my process, but I also care deeply about the outcome. My newest draft of my novel still isn’t good and now I have to work hard to make it better. It isn’t going to take well under 5 minutes, but hopefully I’ll get better at it and will have created something really beautiful in the end.