“Nothing is invented and perfected at the same time.” – John Ray, Born Nov. 29, 1627.
Are you a perfectionist? Or maybe you're a fiddler, just constantly tweaking and improving, but never publishing or launching?
I feel you. Been there. Used to be that way myself. Oddly, it's a holdover from having been to art school. A painting has to be done to be done.
Writing is different. Marketing is different. Mostly done is often just as good as done. Minimum effective functionality is what you need. What you think it needs to be is frequently far beyond what is necessary to get a result.
And with results, you can THEN finish your thing, and it will end up even better than you could have made it alone.
With feedback from paying clients and eager audiences, you can tailor your thing to better meet what your buyers want and need. And they help do the work for you, if you give them that opportunity. They even LIKE doing it.
And for you, the lessons learned where rubber meets road are invaluable and available in no other way than to release the brake and hit the gas.
We work in marketing. Everything is a test, and a workable draft is the point at which you should publish. Run it, see what happens. THEN improve toward the best version possible. Once you have a better idea of what that is.
Because until you publish, you're just guessing anyway. Why rely on a meticulous guess, when you can make a sorta easy guess and let your people fill in the rest for you? Then just give them what they want most.
Remember that always.
We aren't artists.
We are inventors, and we aren't the kind that keep our inventions hidden.
We are Orville and Wilbur at Kitty Hawk. We are testing openly and often, all the time.
Build on it, improve in iterations. Get as close to perfection as you like, but do it this way instead of alone in your lab.
And hey, you might find perfection isn't all it's cracked up to be. You may discover you don't need it and never did. Good enough can be good enough.
Even better than perfect.
<!—- lagniappe Here are a few ways we can begin to break the spell of perfection and ever-fiddling and just get the damned thing done and out the door already... 1. I’m not a big fan of writing longhand, but nowadays with dictation software I at least don’t have to retype it... I digress, writing longhand - or evening typing on an old typewriter can break the addiction of editing as you compose. Finish a draft first completely before you edit anything. 2. If you must use modern tech to write, a way to break the habit of editing off the prompt is to do something like “###” whenever you make a flub you want to fix later. When done, search for that nonsense string and fix things from top to bottom. DO NOT write notes to yourself about edits within the text, because you WILL mess up and leave them there, lol. 3. Speaking of, the habit of writing a complete draft is very useful when creating work for clients. Use a template. Write a rough first draft for every section you need. The goal here is to have it FINISHED - even if just barely decent - well before deadline. Then our procrastination is applied to thinking up excellent improvements and fixes of obvious flaws, instead of us having nothing at all. 4. It’s good to be in the habit of frequent publication because like any newspaper or magazine, you can apologize for errors in the next release, and invite reader to get in touch if you make any mistakes. That ongoing conversation with the audience is more engaging and tangible than just dropping perfect missives cold to stand alone and without interaction. 5. Back to composing - try working by dictation, either with software or using a service that transcribes your ranting for you. There are plenty and they’re cheap. The idea there is you don’t speak in typos. And if you’re editing a transcript, it will actually read better than your normal writing if you find you get stuck in editing/tweaking mode rather than just cranking out complete work. 6. Working off a timer is a good practice, too. It doesn’t have to be a stopwatch with an alarm, either. I make a habit of putting on a vinyl LP and stopping for a break when I notice the music has stopped. One side of a record is about 25-30 minutes or so. The goal is to get as much done in that space as I can. Fill the page, finish the piece. Then, get a coffee refill, flip the record, and edit during the other side. Will these work? Do you need more? No you don’t, lol. Let’s get it done. :) —->