by: Staci Stallings
As humans, most of us strive for these things, and that’s understandable because we would like to do the things we do with skill and precision and competency.
But here’s something I’m learning (don’t laugh that it took me 44 years to get here!)…
Long before you ever even get CLOSE to excellence, much less to perfection, you have to be willing to do whatever it is bad (badly for the English teachers among us!).
Willing to do it bad.
What does that mean?
I’ll give you an example from my own life that’s been front and center for the last few days around here.
2014 seems to be setting up to be a year of God putting on the accelerator for my book promotions. 2013 was kind of a lull year as I put most of my efforts into getting CrossReads going. This year, for whatever reason, God seems to be directing me back to getting my books out there.
The problem is, there have been a few things along the way that I realized were not as brilliantly shiningly wonderful as they needed to be to take things to the next level.
One of those things is several of my covers.
Now you have to realize when I started doing ebooks in August of 2011, I did not have a cover designer. I did not know a cover designer, and I couldn’t afford a cover designer. So what did I do? I did the very best I could with what I had (which wasn’t much!). In short, I was willing to do it bad until I could do it better.
Here’s an example of just where I started…
In early 2012, I knew this cover wasn’t going to cut it. So I had it revised by my new cover designer. The new cover came out like this:
Several months later, seeing that this cover wasn’t catching on, I revised it again to this…
Better but a little too contentious for a romance, and a little too dark.
The other day when I was directed (or redirected) back into promotions and getting my work out there, one of the covers that I knew had to be revised was this one. Yes. I’d already done three covers. Yes, I’d already bought pictures for them and spent the time and money to get them to the level they were. And each new one had, in my opinion, been an improvement on the ones before it.
However, willing to be bad doesn’t mean you have to stay there. It means that when you see how to do it better, you step up your game and swing for the fences. So that’s what I’ve done.
You may, if you’re a Staci Stallings romance fan, notice some new covers coming online in the coming couple of months. There’s a reason for that… because it’s time to reach for excellence.
Interestingly, I have noticed this “learning curve” of being willing to be bad in several areas recently. I have a new assistant who is learning some technical aspects of my work. One day we worked for two hours on one minor, little glitch–and never did figure out why it wasn’t working. He was apologetic about “wasting my time.” But the truth is, he’s in there… in the game…. learning. He’s willing to be bad at it for awhile until he can (and he will) get really good at it.
My daughter who is learning sign language is so much better at it now than she was 2 years ago. My other daughter who plays the piano is the same way–the growth in just a couple years is phenomenal. My son is the same way with his reading.
I have noticed this in exercise too. When you first start out, walking to the mailbox may be nearly impossible. But when you do it, and go through being bad at it and you keep working in spite of knowing you stink at it, sooner or later, you start to get better. Then one day, you’re running the block.
However, you never would’ve run the block if you hadn’t been willing to be bad at it to begin with!
Anything worth learning is truly worth being bad at to begin with. In fact, unless you are a prodigy at something, you most likely WILL be bad at it when you start. That’s okay. Just jump in, learn all you can, keep trying and learning and doing it. Revise. Learn some more. Take it to the next level. Evaluate. Revise… Do that and excellence is surely coming your way!
Oh, and on that cover? Here’s the new one that I literally could sit and just look at all day long! (Thanks to Lynnette Bonner of http://indiecoverdesign.blogspot.com/ ~ You’re completely AMAZING!)
This new cover will be showing up on Amazon within the week! YAY! Go God!
Thanks Readers for giving me the space to be bad long enough for great to start coming around!
It’s been an awesome journey!