Positive Writer

Writing through doubt and fear, and you can, too!

Why You Need To Do Something Stupid (To Succeed As An Artist)

Too many of us stop before we get started. So we tend to believe it’s the starting that is the hardest part of, well, getting started. But it’s not. Not by a long shot.

Anything worth doing always seems stupid at first.

There’s something else that holds you back from giving us your best work.

Something devastating.

And at one point or another, we all must figure out how to overcome it or live the rest of our lives in mediocrity, obscurity, and, even regret.

If you never start we’ll never get to read, view, or listen to you, and that would be a shame.

So what can you do about it?

Do. Something. Stupid.

If you think about it a while, I know you’ll realize the truth. It’s not other people who hold you back, and although it might seem like it at times, it’s not your “circumstances” either.

The real culprit, what is in fact holding you back from creating your best work, is:

Y.O.U.

How? It’s those secret thoughts of yours doing it. The ones you don’t like to admit exist.

They are the self-deprecating thoughts that are so ingrained in your psyche that no matter how you rationalize to yourself that they are unjustified, you invariably succumb to the belief that they are true.

You know the thoughts I’m talking about.

Here are a few of the thoughts that have held me back (maybe you’re familiar with them):

I was stupid to think I could do it.

And even if I did it, “they” would think it’s stupid.

It was a stupid idea anyway.

Then I discovered the secret that set me free:

Anything worth doing always seems stupid at first. (Click to Tweet)

Let’s not allow our negative self-talk to sabotage our art and our chances at success. The real problem when we talk ourselves out of starting is that we put our ideas and ourselves down in order to avoid looking, and feeling, foolish.

We’re not always afraid of failure itself, we’re more afraid of the repercussions of failing and being considered an idiot for thinking we could get away with it.

You really thought you could create something that matters? Don’t be stupid, think again. Stop this foolishness. Be normal. Be average. Fit in.

We all think such thoughts, no matter how well we keep them hidden, they are there, taunting and ridiculing us.

Don’t be stupid.

So how do you overcome this unyielding tension between creating something meaningful and believing that it’s stupid?

In order to do something worthwhile you must become willing to go ahead and create anyway. You must ignore the idea that you need to be, and that others need to see you as, perfect.

And frankly, my friend, the reality is we’re not perfect. So let’s stop trying to be.

To create something that matters you’ve got to be willing to suffer the discomfort of criticism, biases, and outright unfairness.

But you also must be willing to accept praise, joy, and success.

It’s okay to do something that seems stupid, as long as you do it. Someone’s got to. It might as well be you.

A stupid idea about a book for writers:

I’ve never passed an English class in my life, I was kicked out of high school, and I was told by one of my English professors in college that I’d never be a writer. So writing a book about writing, well, that was a pretty stupid idea. Don’t you think?

But I did it anyway. The book’s titled “Writer’s Doubt” and it currently has over 50 5 star reviews on Amazon. It’s helping writers do what they love to do―write.

Even a King, and a stupid idea about giving speeches:

King George VI of England had a crippling stammer and was absolutely terrified by the idea of speaking in public. He didn’t just believe he would sound stupid if he must address his nation, he knew it for a verifiable fact.

And yet, with the help of a gifted speech therapist, after 9 other speech experts had utterly failed (source), he not only overcame his speech impediment, his speeches during World War 2 are credited for uniting Britain. (His story was recounted in the Academy Award Winning Movie, “The King’s Speech.”)

Your stupidest idea could be your best idea, ever. Don’t underestimate it. (Click to Tweet)

So what’s really stopping you?

How about taking a chance and do something crazy, go ahead and acknowledge that your idea might be a stupid one. And, you know what? That’s okay.

Because anything worth doing doesn’t need anyone’s stamp of approval as a great idea, it just needs to be done to the best of your ability.

Go for it.

Make it your present to yourself this year.

But let me be honest with you about all of this―your ideas, ambitions, and dreams are important and we need you to strive to achieve them, because no matter how stupid they may seem to you right now, they’re really not stupid at all.

Are you ready to do something worth doing? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

About Bryan Hutchinson

I'm a positive writer and when that doesn't work, I eat chocolate. I help fellow writers overcome doubt and thrive! In my free time, I love visiting castles with my wife, Joan. Join me on Twitter and Facebook.

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Like a good friend, Bryan guides you through the process of facing your inner demons, conquering the craft, and creating work that matters. ―Jeff Goins

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  • Facing those negative thoughts and then deciding they may have entered your mind, but they don’t have to stay there. That is key. Great post, Bryan. Love the transparency. That coupled with your desire to see others succeed comes through.

  • Ani

    Ye, true. Those thought come and get on your way… most of the ideas that come, seem stupid at first. But I still do try them because I will never know if they were really stupid or not until they are implemented and tested.

  • You always write exactly what I need. I wasn’t going to join writer blogs….I didn’t want to feel inadequate. Or better yet, I did’t want to join a circle of writers knowing I was a fraud; an unpublished writer! But then I did something stupid: I signed up to your blog! Your words are an inspiration for anyone trying to accomplish something. People hear I have written a book and I always downplay it…”Oh, it is just a stupid little story.” I am going to stop doing that! I WROTE A NOVEL! For God’s sake. I have written a pretty damn good novel! Is it a masterpiece? No. But all 120,000 edited words are succinctly put together to create a beautiful story. So, two people have read it….who cares! They liked it! I am not going to feel stupid anymore. Thank you.

    • It’s YOUR masterpiece. So, yes, it’s a masterpiece. Thanks for signing up, happy to have you!

  • AnnM

    How did you get into my mind? Either not trying to do something because I’m sure I will be bad at it and feel stupid, or doing something anyway and feeling stupid when it fails or I get negative feedback has been a reality.
    I have always loved to write but until recently I haven’t the courage to write anything that it might have to publish because it’s finished. These blogs and e-books as well as a young friend who has already put herself out there by e-publishing, have helped me to have the courage to keep going.
    I finished NaNoWriMo last month and something strange happened along the way, the more I wrote the more I began to enjoy it. Then as I’ve read, my characters began to take over the story of their own lives, dictating themselves what would happen and I the writer now only putting in print what they wished to tell.
    Thought there is still a small voice inside that keeps saying, “you’re stupid if you think anyone will read this, and if they do they’ll know for sure you are stupid”, but I keep trying to put the voice away.
    With all the help out there from blogs like these and a couple of supportive friends I will get through….. And probably feel stupid! But validated too.

    • If you keep going the feeling will pass and it seems you’ve already found that out with NaNoWriMo. 🙂

      • AnnM

        Thank you, I will keep going. The more I write, the more I feel the compulsion to do so, the need which is proving louder than the voice which says to stop.

        Reading these wonderful motivating blogs buoys us tentative writers on as well.

  • Oh, BTW…hope you don’t mind, but I shared your link and made reference to you on my blog today! You inspired my theme this week. Thank you again! (Please don’t get excited that it will reach many people…hence the theme of my blog. But wanted to give credit where credit deserves!)

  • This was perfect for me today! I’ve always been nervous that to tell my family what I really wanted in life was stupid. Now that I’ve told them I feel like I’ve been empowered and it’s really helped! Thank you for this! And I agree with @AnnM! How do you get into my mind!? 🙂

  • Great post Bryan!

    I really enjoyed reading this. It was very encouraging and motivating.

    You are absolutely right, we need to stop trying to be the person that everyone else says we need to be, and instead, be the person that we want to be.

    If there is anyone here that wants to be a writer but has everyone telling you why you shouldn’t (I can relate) I suggest to you today to do what you want to do and not what others tell you you should do. I made up my mind a long time ago that I was going to do this writing thing and there was nothing anyone could do or say that was going to stop me…

    And guess what….

    The more and more my writing business succeeds the more and more those same people tell me, “I knew you could do it along…” hogwash! If I failed they would be telling me the opposite, “I knew it wasn’t work in the first place…”

    Truth be told, when most people say these things they are really talking about themselves and not you (or me). They want to see you fail and if you fail it affirms their belief that they have for themselves. If you succeed it would spark something in themselves to perhaps give this thing a shot.

    If we can embrace this truth and fully understand that most people are saying these things to themselves (but sound like they are saying them to us) to validate the belief they have already accepted in themselves.

    I choose to believe other wise and my success validates my belief.

  • Araf Karim

    Inspired writing. I love the post. I was really afraid about it. Your post encourage me to write.
    Thanks.

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