Kira, an eighth-grader, has been doing amazingly well learning to play and sing pop songs, to the point where she can do it pretty much on her own now. So, I suggested that she start writing songs.
She said that she had tried to write a song but, "I didn't like it."
I said, "Wouldn't you be surprised if the first song by a beginning songwriter was something you wanted to listen to?"
I have a first song. I wrote it nearly twenty years ago, and I remember it quite affectionately even though I was somewhat embarrassed by it at the time. All in all, there is only a handful of songs from my first five years of songwriting that I would consider performing onstage now. Thankfully, though, I've became a better songwriter, and now there are many songs I've written that I'm actually proud of.
I'm still a beginner in other ways, however. Currently, I am trying now to launch a new program that will allow children to explore a variety of musical instruments and games on a drop-in basis. I wish that we had dozens of exotic and expensive instruments and a polished presentation. Instead, it's more like what the above-average kid would own if he were very spoiled by Grandma, with an enthusiastic but not extensively experienced staff member helping out.
But so what? Is it going to be perfect, right out of the box? Hell, no - there isn't even a box. I'm making the whole thing up as I go along. I have to, as Anne Lamott says in Bird By Bird, "write really, really shitty first drafts." I have to just let myself be a beginner, and perhaps Mastery will notice me laboring there in the trenches and bestow a little fairy dust on my endeavors.
I have no reason to think that my project won't work - or at least, evolve into something that will. I have taught many children, and everyone improves. Everyone gets better, even with vanishingly small amounts of effort in some cases. So I feel very confident in telling Kira that her songs will improve. I just won't tell her how long it might take.
In what respect are you a beginner?
Hat tip to E. R. Pidgeon for sharing the Lamott piece.