Being Bad

Posted on: May 3rd, 2018 by Nathan E. Lilly

I don’t think I’m getting my thoughts out properly. It feels like there’s a gap between what I want to say (portray, write, etc.) and what I actually say. I’m clumsily groping for the words to express what I’m trying to say. The solution: allow yourself to do things badly.

  • Make 1000 bad drawings
  • Paint 1000 bad paintings
  • Write 1000 bad blog posts
  • Play 1000 piano songs, badly

It’s not that I’m setting out to make anything that’s bad, but that I’m making things and allowing them to be bad. The only way to get better is to allow yourself the opportunity to do bad work.

I forgot that I was doing this (this blog; this artwork; etc.) for myself. Everything doesn’t have to be perfectly crafted for display to others. Sometimes it’s more important to get the ideas out as they happen. That’s the reason why I promised myself to do 50 posts in a year. Some of it will be rushed, premature, poorly thought out, but the main goal is to just get it out. This isn’t a place to withhold.

Doing something badly isn’t a waste of time. The biggest unknown challenge for an artist is to get good before they realize that they’re doing it badly. That’s why so many people give up art when they’re still children. They realize that they’re not very good. People who do art well into adulthood blissfully keep making art until they’re well past the point that they realize their childhood art wasn’t very good. They’ll look back at their early art and think to themselves, “I can’t believe I thought that was good.”

The hardest obstacle to get over is for an artist is to not be very good; to know they’re not very good; and yet still need to do art, to know that they need to do art to get better, and to know that they won’t get better without doing the art that they know will be bad.