On Being Good Enough

8 November, 2018

While I’m not a musician, I’m a huge fan of drummer Bill Bruford. The first time I heard his work was in 1979, and in the decades since Bruford’s work has fascinated and delighted me.

Recently, he published a post on his website that really hit home with me.

Here’s the key passage from that post:

No-one else appeared to hear my project unravelling, the sound of un-met expectations crashing to the floor. The gulf between what I expected of myself and my perception of what others expected of me widened, until eventually I was unable to function at all as a musician.

Change musician to writer and you have me.

For as long as I’ve been writing, people have told me that I’m a good writer. I’ve always doubted that. At best, I see myself as an adequate scribbler. Someone who can write quickly, but who lacks a certain flair.

Those feelings of doubt have expanded and contracted in recent years. Mostly expanded. I’ve lost confidence in whatever ability with words that I might have had.

I don’t see the words as sharply as I used to. Those words don’t come together as easily or successfully as they should. I don’t hear the stories as clearly as I once did.

Back in 2009, the gulf the Bill Bruford talked about widened to the point where he put down his drum sticks and retired from music. I’m wondering if it’s time to put down my pen ...

Scott Nesbitt