Published on February 16th, 2014 | by Dan Walsh2
Everything Creative Must Suck…
If something – anything – is creative, it must suck at first. It must suck badly. In fact, the worse it sucks initially, the better the final product. By nature, creativity must contain an element of newness, and anything sufficiently new will be without instructions. There will be zero how-to books on the subject or technique. No map. No guidance. Sucking is the process of discovery. The failed attempts become the content for those missing how-to books.
I knew a kid named Winston. He was in my Boy Scout troop. Every holiday the scouts would sell wreathes. Most of us would just sell to our relatives or immediate neighbors. We were all afraid to suck and knew these people would buy from us. Winston wasn’t afraid to suck. He wasn’t very popular, so he was already comfortable with rejection. He sold door-to-door to the whole town. Not everyone bought from him, but enough did. But when the troop leaders announced the scout with the most sales, it was Winston who won the trophy. He won because he wasn’t afraid to suck.
I’m not a great photographer. I think I have an ok eye for composition, but that’s where my skill ends. “The secret to being a great photographer is to take a thousand photos and only show the single best one.” I don’t know where I read that. Maybe I was lucky and someone excellent told me that in person. I don’t know, but it’s true. Suck a lot and something great will emerge. Just show off the best stuff.
I’m not a great writer. I feel like I babble about nonsense. But if I suck enough, every now and then I end up with something really good. Something I’m proud of. Something other people like too.
I was often afraid to suck. I still am. But now I know that sucking is part of the process. In fact, if I suck a lot, that should mean I’m trailblazing. If it was easier then someone must have already explored the territory. Great suckage means I’m on the trail of something really creative.