The Best Advice I Ever Heard

There are definitely times I have struggled over the last year to keep writing. I am consistently plagued by voices in my head saying that I’m not contributing to society as I said I wanted to, or that there are so many people already writing more eloquently about autism, or simply that blogging is so 1990s. There are a million reasons why I should quit, give it up entirely and find something more productive to do with my time.

During the pandemic, if I’ve learned anything, it has been to give myself and others grace. Grace to make mistakes, to be incommunicado, to be annoying, to question, to be honest and most of all, to be imperfect. That is really what this project is about. I used to put rules, restrictions and “discipline” onto myself when I wanted to do things and then blame myself when I failed. Except these projects were doomed to fail at conception. The purpose was to accomplish something tangible, preferably defined, at the end, without regard to how I felt in the moment or what circumstances might shift or evolve over time. The consistency in my writing could only have been accomplished through the OPPOSITE of a defined goal-setting process.

I just needed permission to act on something I wanted to do/share, without caring about how others would be judging and evaluating my output at all times. And that’s when I remember reading or hearing words from a now-prominent journalist who started blogging in the 90s who said, ‘when I look back on my early work, 90% or more of it was terrible.’ Granted, this journalist is a man and generally men will get more leeway to produce bad work and still get paid and promoted. And I don’t intend to make a career out of my writing anytime soon, but it was eye-opening… that it was OK to let other people see your shitty work, whatever the effort you put into it.

I’m not going to name the person who uttered that phrase and gave me the implicit permission that I couldn’t give myself on my own. But I do silently thank him regularly. And, to the extent I have any regular readers, I would pass that advice along to you.

You have something to contribute, something to show the world. Don’t wait! It will not be perfect; it may never be perfect, but it may help inspire someone else to grow your imperfect thought or idea or work of art into something bigger, better and more perfect. Humanity is a work in progress and, if we are all contributing our best at the time we are able, the eventual outcome may never be known to us individually, but will improve humanity in some way, at some time in the future.

So stop thinking about whatever you want to do and start doing it, and start showing it off to anyone else who is interested. Build a movement, from the ground up. Or you could just start a blog. But most importantly, help others wherever and whenever you can. Even if you don’t think you are being effective, even if they don’t tell you ‘thanks,’ as long as you are interacting with the world as your authentic, imperfect self, you WILL reach people. And that is the primary reason you are on this earth.

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