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The First Time Will Be Bad: The Creative Journey

You might have heard the advice that your first time will always be bad, but you gotta do it to get to your hundredth time. By then, you’ll be better.

You know, your first workout will be bad. The first time you play a music instrument will be bad.

And that's okay, because you're learning and you've never done it before, so how can it be good?

Just start. Then show up every day, little by little, and get better.

That's why I wanted to self-publish my first books.

I'd love to get into trade. One day I will. I have so many book ideas I want to write and so many ahead of me. I'll get there some time. But I went by this thought. I didn’t expect my first time to be my best, of course.

My first book, fortunately, had great reviews and people are loving it. But when I first tried writing it years ago, I hated it. It was bad.

But first drafts are always bad. So that’s fine.

I put it away for a while, kept trying to grow, and came back to it and worked on it and worked on it. So much rewriting and then many rounds of editing with my great team of pros.

Fortunately, my first book came out well.

But at the same time, I know I can be better. It's still my first. Each time I write a book now, I get better. I feel it getting easier, see it getting better.

That's why I try to write every day. To keep the habit going, the pattern there. Learning my voice. Little by little.

I’m writing more and more short stories and articles too. Practising. Working towards my hundredth time.

I wanted to approach trade with a stronger skill. My first series is 3 books with a side book. I've written 2 of those now, and am drafting the third. But I also want to start working on some of the non-series projects I have, and some of these I will submit to trade.

Because now it's not my first book.

I used my first books to build my skills. To show my work and my style. To get used to the world of writing and being an author and getting out there. Getting readers, starting to build a platform. Interacting with people. Going to events and signings and meeting real readers. Getting feedback from my work. It's all part of the process of growing and getting better.

I see my writing like a journey, and I hope as each book is created, people will see my writing journey. Getting better each time. Finding my voice a little more each time. Trying different themes and ideas each time. Exploring worlds and cultures and stories.

Don’t pressure yourself the first time.

You don't have to be great at first. Or even on the second time. Of course you won’t be. You’re starting out, learning, trying. Finding the way.

Just show up. The first time will suck. That's totally fine.

Keep going towards the hundredth time. And then some more.

And enjoy it.

And by losing the expectation that you have to be good the first time, you’ll enjoy it more anyway.

Then celebrate small victories, even if they're not yet perfect, and find joy in the act of creation itself.

Learning and trying new things is always about the journey. The creation.

Don’t expect too much of yourself.

Just show up.

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