Mercy

“Every writer starts in the same place on Day One: Super excited, and ready for greatness. On Day Two, every writer looks at what she wrote on Day One and hates herself,” says Elizabeth Gilbert, in an Instagram post on how to write.

She continues, “What separates working writers from non-working writers is that working writers return to their task on Day Three.” 

It’s true that writing is when I hate myself the most. The worst client I’ve had has never said anything worse than what I’ve said to myself. 

But Gilbert’s post reminds me to practice self-kindness. She says, “What gets you there is not pride but mercy. Show yourself forgiveness, for not being good enough. Then keep going.”

I suppose this applies to more than just writing. Any work that requires constant improvement — building an app, starting a business, making a drink — requires self-forgiveness and mercy. 

Although the knowledge that you’ll never be “good enough” is at the back of your mind, you keep going. 

You inch from good to better to better some more. And the funny thing about this is that at each level you arrive at, although you’ve travelled a long distance to get there, the road ahead seems just as long. 

You’ll never arrive. 

In the manga Shokugeki no Soma, the world of cooking is likened to a raging storm that chefs have to walk into. 

You learn to be okay with stumbling, falling down. You learn to pick yourself up and keep going. 

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