"Let it suck." --B.S.
A few weeks ago I met a new friend for coffee. It was one of those amazing "first dates" where you immediately fall into conversation about important things and time seems to pass so quickly that before you know it hours have gone by and you both need to rush off, late for whatever it was you were supposed to be doing that afternoon.
We talked about life and family, relationships and writing, and I told her that one of the most important things I have learned about writing is the importance of being willing to write a really shitty first draft.
I learned this, of course, from Anne Lamott's book "Bird By Bird," but it took me years - YEARS - to be able to actually do it and it still makes me nervous and twitchy sometimes and I am still a LONG way off from enjoying it.
We talked a bit more about our writing process and then she paused for a moment out of the blue and said, "Let it suck," which was her way of reminding herself to have the courage to write a shitty first draft.
This morning as I was waking and dozing, before really getting up, I started thinking about the phrase, "Let it suck," and I realized it could apply to so much more than just writing.
Apply it to a party you have to attend, but don't really want to. Instead of lamenting how much it is going to suck and how uncomfortable it is going to be, just let it suck.
Apply it to a doctor's visit. Instead of moaning about how uncomfortable a pap smear is and how much you don't want to do it (and how freaked out you secretly are that you might have cervical cancer), just let it suck.
Apply it to your relationships. In every relationship there are going to be rough times. And in any long-term friendship, family relationship or romantic relationship there is going to be some conflict, some compromise, and some - maybe even a lot - of mis-communication. Instead of wringing your hands and wondering if this is the end, just let it suck.
And then it will get better. Or maybe in some cases it won't and then you'll have to deal with it, whatever "it" is, but you don't have to deal with it now. For now, you just have to let it suck and be okay with that.
I can't guarantee it, I haven't tried it myself yet, but I am willing to bet this makes things easier in life just as it does in writing.
Let it suck.