Good enough? Wha— what blasphemy is this?! It must be perfect! (Whatever ‘it’ happens to be) Everyone knows (at least in their heart of hearts they do) that perfectionism isn’t productive. With my day job work, I’m used to hearing the phrase ‘It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to work.’ I nod and agree, then go about my way of ignoring it. This habit carried over to my writing life. (Well, honestly, it carries into every part of my life, but we’re discussing writing right now.)
This has become something I can’t ignore, so now I’m going to work on fixing this little problem of mine. Good luck me! (… And anyone else.)
Perfectionism and its less popular, but still manic, cousin Efficiency Paranoia (known in the tech world as the Efficiency Paradox) are old friends of mine. Though the term ‘efficiency paranoia’ is one I hadn’t heard until recently. When I did, it was like a voice, leaning next to my ear, whispering. “You dumb ass. Of course your plan of action will never be perfect.” The voice when on to cuss in Japanese; while I could only understand the word ‘idiot’, the point was made. (Such a strange voice.)
I decided to listen to some of what the voice said. Namely the idea that it’s better to start with a little and add on to it than to have every one of your ducks lined up in a row, but still have to do just a little bit more research… And a little bit more. And on and on.
Here’s one of my favorite quotes I made up: “Progress is worth more than perfection.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Well, that’s all well and good, but how to start?
I’ll let you know when I find the perfect solution that will 100% work… will be the best option… may be another cure to cancer… Oh, right. I remember this conversation.
Step 1: Just start.
There. That was simple.
Step 1.5: Preferably start somewhere public or online so you have the added fear of failure if you happen to stop. There’s nothing like a gentle kick in the ass and public humiliation to get your mind geared to keep going.
Step 1.75: After you’ve taken the leap and dipped your toe in the pool, making a plan to continue the work is a must. This is the easy part though. Compared to the mental anguish you had before you had started anything, this is just a plan to keep on keeping on.
Step 2: …
I don’t actually have one… Aren’t short step-by-steps the best. 🙂
So, this is the approach I’m using for this blog. This same blog I’ve been meaning to start for at least 4 years. You’d think with all that time I must be arriving close to perfection, right? Nope. And that is the problem I usually have with the search for perfection, most times, after I’ve started, I realize that all the
procrastination work I did before starting isn’t even applicable to what I actually need. Always such a sad realization…
But maybe it’s just me.
Do you usually make complete use of everything you spent time on before you began working on a project? I’m curious.