How to Conquer Perfectionism
What’s the #1 creative block I hear about the most?
This is the dragon that kills more creative dreams than anything else.
It sounds like this:
“It doesn’t look how I imagined it would.”
“I don’t feel like it was my best work.”
“I’m afraid of messing it up.”
“I’m still planning.”
Too many of us think “If I don’t do it well, I might as well not do it at all.” A lot of us don’t want to look stupid, don’t want to be a beginner, don’t want to try something and fail. We’d rather our creation remain flawless in our mind than imperfect in the real world.
The problem is, a creation that lives in our mind doesn’t exist. Ideas have no form. Your creation doesn’t exist until you actually make it.
But the physical world is concrete. It has gravity, form, it’s a lot harder to manipulate.
Nothing in real life is as flawless as what’s in our imaginations.
But sometimes things can turn out better than we imagined if we embrace imperfection and try new things.
My motto that I’ve worked hard to internalize, the motto that lives on a card pinned to the board behind my computer where I can see it all day is this:
Done is better than perfect.
Yes, we like things to be good. Yes, editing is important and yes, it’s great to do our best. But when perfectionism holds us back and we’re constantly tweaking, changing, planning or worse, not starting at all, perfectionism is nothing but a block. It’s an excuse to not be seen.
That amazing creation that lives in your imagination? It’s only in your imagination.
But an imperfect project that’s finished? That’s done. That’s valuable. It’s something others can experience that exists in the real world, that you can actually put your name on and say “I made that.”
And you know what? Most of the time, others don’t even see the imperfections. They see an amazing work of art that it exactly how it should be.
My experience: My blog posts aren’t perfect. I don’t spend nearly as much time on them as I do on my fiction writing. You know why? Because if I did, I wouldn’t publish anything. Ever. I’ve learned that the only way I’ll actually hit “publish” is if I just crank them out and not worry if they’re absolutely perfect. If they’re interesting and get my point across, I’m golden. Yes, I still find typos and sometimes I read back over them and think “I could have explained that better,” but I don’t sweat it. This stuff needs to get out into the world, and it doesn’t have to be perfect to have impact.
Remember, done is better than perfect!