Doing It Badly

I come up with an idea. It seems like a good thing to set into action. I take a step in the right direction. And then I stop. I find myself thinking so hard about the next fifteen steps. Which direction should they be in? How often should I take them? Should I pick a rhythm? Should I hop, walk, or run? The list goes on. The questions keep coming. In the interim, I don’t move.

Yesterday I found myself in this same position concerning my blogging. The question arose: Should I blog every day the way I do my morning pages, or should I blog only on the weekdays, the way I have approached my new writing “job”? Then another question arose: Should I plan out theme posts, so that there is a consistency to my blog’s rhythm, and therefore use the weekend to fit posts within the appropriate themes of the week? And then another question: Should I start taking pictures to post with my posts? The questions kept coming.

Guess what didn’t happen yesterday?

I did not write a blog post at all. I just thought about it. A lot.

Then I remembered the philosophy I usually employ when I successfully start a new project — a philosophy I was reminded of this Spring when listening to Gretchen Rubin’s podcast, Happier, when she and her sister actually gave it a name:


When I started teaching, I had no choice but to walk in my first classroom as a 21 year old right out of college with absolutely NO CLUE how to handle high school students. I had a job. I had to show up. I had to do it in whatever way I could.

I did it badly.

Taking it back further, when I showed up too my first try-out/practice for the high school swim team, the only instruction was to get in the pool and swim. About four strokes in I realized my summers swimming in my backyard pool were NO KIND of preparation for competitive swimming. No one told me to get out of the pool. I just kept swimming.

I did it badly.

When I was home from work, with a rare disease that took me out of every normal kind of socialization and regular human living I was accustomed to, I scrambled around the internet looking for connections. I found Facebook, blogging, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, StumbleUpon. I tried them all.

I did them all badly, just to do something.

When I found NaNoWriMo, I thought, Huh… maybe I can write a novel in a month. I’ll try it. That was October 29, 2011. No planning time. No idea what I was doing. When November 1st came, I started writing. I finished over 50,000 words of a novel that month.

You know how I did it?


If I look back through my life there are probably hundreds more of these examples (HA! What about parenting?! If that’s not a “do it badly” situation, I don’t know what is — no one knows what they are doing, but that DOES NOT STOP THEM FROM DOING IT!! NO!). Doing it badly is how life gets done. I know this. At my core I know this. What happens is as life goes on and you do experience some successes, you forget how they got started. You mistakenly believe that you now know how to take the fast path to success in all arenas!

Here’s the secret: Every new endeavor (even if it looks similar to one you’ve tackled in the past) starts at their very own step 1. There is no step skipping. That’s how you fall.

So I hope you like today’s blog post. I’m happy it’s actually done, even if the only way it got here is because I agreed to do it badly.



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