On Allowances

No, I am not going to speak about the small sum of money you were given as a child for doing basic household chores or not being a total screw up as a kid. Frankly, I never got such a thing because it was expected of me to do shit around the house. I also, kind of, secretly hated all the kids in my school and neighborhood that got an allowance, especially since they seemed to be the terrible ones.

No, I mean allowances in the original sense of permitting something in a regulated and specified manner. Sort of like what Dave Grohl meant in one of  his more colorful quotes:

      You listen to this man!

You listen to this man!

Now, to be fair, I slightly disagree with him on the topic of The Voice because I unabashedly love that show. However, I completely understand the point he is trying to make. All artists should allow themselves to suck for a bit.

No one, except for those truly rare talents, is good, much less great, at their beginning. I even doubt those exceptional individuals who claim that their first works were good. Every creative person, regardless of your medium or level, needs a few allowances. We need those quiet moments of reflection and work to see our creations in a new light and discover things about them and ourselves to put into the next project.

I think this is why I like the idea of NaNoWriMo so much. Very few scribes in history have ever written a tome in so few days, but that’s the essential point. You are not writing a masterpiece in November; you are simply writing down the story you want to tell. It is a permission slip to suck at writing along with thousands of others across the country.

This is good. You are supposed to be bad. Even the organizers of NaNoWriMo know and expect this which is why they have Revision commitments for January and February. So, take the challenge and do something just because you love it. Let yourself be unimaginably terrible at it content in the knowledge that you are supposed to be and in time will improve. And even if you don’t, you still probably had some fun on the ride.

I’ll leave this with a pep talk of sorts on the subject by the ineffable John Green:


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