The other night I went to a writers’ centre talk by a woman who has recently published the first book in a children’s trilogy. She’s a prolific writer covering all genres.

When asked her secret to writing successfully in so many genres she repeatedly said “I just thought I’d have a crack at it”. I liked that. There’s a lot to learn from it. It seems to suggest:

A willingness to fail

The process is worth doing even if it doesn’t work out. It’s worth trying. Life is worth the effort.

Recognising the value of learning

The willingness to try (and possibly fail) means understanding that learning is valuable in itself. It only happens when you “have a crack at it”.

Doing it for the love of it

This woman loves writing and reading. She reads cereal boxes when there are no other options. She makes her living writing and she does it in her spare time too. That’s a lot of love.

Following intuition

The author did talk about following a sense of intuition. She could feel the “zing” in the raw idea and acted on it. I think we all know when something is tugging at our heartstrings and teasing our minds.

Getting up again

This author mentioned that she had written a previous novel that was bought but never published. I’m sure that was hard. Tears were probably shed. But (to use another very Australian expression) she just got on with it anyway.

Hard work

This woman just does it. She doesn’t seem to have wasted time mulling over options. Rather than choose a genre she has simply chosen to be a writer, and a writer writes.  She writes fiction at night. Freelance journalism and corporate writing pay the bills so they are her day job.

Dropping perfectionism

When I say that, I don’t mean neglecting quality, not at all. Perfectionism is about control and fear. Trying to be perfect and right. It’s about avoiding blame and shame, it’s not about doing a good job.  With too much perfectionism nothing ever gets finished.

There are some things I’d like to “have a crack at” too. Maybe my first step is just to play with ideas on paper and see what sticks. Then schedule my writing time and write.

I’ve always liked these words below. There is some contention about whether they are really by Goethe. Something happened in the translation from the German. Maybe he uttered them at a party. I’m not sure I care. They’re powerful words.

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

What will you “have a crack at”?