“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” – John Steinbeck, East of Eden
I have a folder on my computer full of books I’ve started writing but never finished.
When the idea first popped into my head, I sat down to write full of enthusiasm and anticipation. But, as the words poured onto the page, I hated the work.
Not the writing part itself. I hated what I was writing. The writing was mediocre. The ideas not well-thought out. The chapters didn’t flow. I didn’t know how to fix it so I abandoned it.
I simply couldn’t produce something that was far from perfect. My Inner Mean Girl wouldn’t let me.
“If you don’t get your first book right, your writing career is over before it even starts.”
“If critics find even the tiniest mistake in it, they’ll give you such bad reviews, you won’t even sell one copy.”
“Do you seriously think someone wants to read this s*it? Get real and quit now before you make a fool of yourself and are publicly humiliated.”
The world is full of manuscripts tucked away at the bottom of a drawer or in a long-forgotten folder on your computer. Mine are just a few among many.
Maybe some of them deserve to be there. Some ideas seem amazing when they first pop into your head, but as you play around with them, you realise they have no future.
But what about the good ideas that never see the light of day because Little Miss Perfect (my nickname for my Inner Mean Girl) is never satisfied?
How many blogs posts are left unpublished, products never completed, videos never edited because you believe something has to be 100% perfect before you share it with the world?Truth bomb: nothing can ever be 100% perfect. If you wait for it to be, you will never produce anything at all.
Mark Zuckerberg didn’t wait for Facebook to be finished before launching it. He just created the first version, put it out there and tweaked it along the way (he’s still testing and tweaking, by the way).
Author Elizabeth Gilbert admitted there are flaws in her masterpiece “The Signature Of All Things,” but fixing them may have done more harm than good to the story. Critics picked up on them, but lots of people enjoy that beautiful novel.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney always wrote a song a day. Not all them were recorded, but all them were finished. That kept their song-writing muscles flexed, allowing them to write beautiful masterpieces that are still popular today.
I’m not saying that you have to put crap work out there, but at some point you need to accept that you’ll never achieve perfection.
If something is good enough, put it out there. Use the feedback to improve it. Tweak it later.You can spend your life fussing over every little detail or make something that's good enough, release it & move on Click To Tweet
You can spend your life fussing over every little detail, hoping one day it’ll be perfect. Or you can make something that’s good enough, release it into the world and move onto the next project.
You can spend your life waiting for perfection. Or you can spend your life making things people love.You can go to your grave with your best work still tucked inside of you. Or you can work on as many projects as you can and look back at the end of your life being proud of what you've accomplished.
The choice is yours. Choose well.
P.S. I’ve almost finished the first draft of my book. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough. Good enough for me to put it out there soon.
Over to you now. Do you believe that done is better than perfect, too? Share your thoughts in the comments below.