My pal Zach has this ritual when we play D&D - before we start, he rolls the D20. Over and over and over again.

The purpose of this, he says, is to “get all the bad rolls out”. A dice, you see, has a certain number of good and bad rolls within it (or are they within the roller?). If you roll the dice a bunch of times, you get all the crap out, so that when it comes time to roll for real you’ve got all that out of the way and can score crits. Or something.

Zach is the person on the left in this post’s header photo. Look how smug he looks. That’s a man who’s rolled out all his critical fails before we even start.

Anyway, we call it prerolls, and we all do it now. It’s become one of those rituals, like eating ill-advisedly large pizzas or blowing on the dice. It must work, because if it didn’t we would have stopped doing it.

The creative process works like this, too, a comparison that is absolutely not new or novel in any way. You have to make a load of shit before you can start making the good stuff. If you try and make the good stuff right away, it’ll be shit, and then you’ll get discouraged.

Human personification of the “mum says it’s my turn on the Xbox” meme Ed Sheeran compares it to a dirty faucet, which I think is lovely, actually.

My partner is an actual, proper, professional writer - a journalist - and she also loves writing short stories. But she never does it because, she says, she’s scared that she’ll sit down and write something and it’ll never be as good as it is in her head.

She’s correct, as she is about most things, but the thing is, it’ll be shit at first and then everything thereafter will be a little bit better. I don’t think, as artists, we ever get something to come out exactly as it is in our head. Usually it’s a little off. Sometimes, especially in my experience in poetry, it goes off in a completely different direction and you produce something you’re really proud of. Most of my poems I actually still like are ones where I intended to write something rather different.

I’ve not written many poems recently - less because I’m scared of them being shit and more because the whole process feels deeply unpleasant of late - but one thing that was impressed into me through various workshops and collectives was the need to play. A lot of the best art is created by just pissing about. Play doesn’t really have an outcome, almost by definition, so I always found these things hard to square with each other.

May god grant me the peace of mind to make shit art, and the self-awareness to not necessarily put it out in the world.