The Problem With Perfection

It feels good watching the words appear upon the page.  For many years, writing has been one of the most cathartic things for me. Whenever I’ve been stressed, a good page or two of journaling later my troubles would be in perspective and feel significantly more manageable.

Years ago a teacher shared that extroverts like things that are tangible, so writing things down allows us to process more fully. Seeing our problems on paper helps us start overcoming them.  Having our thoughts out in the open makes them more real, lets them truly sink in.  I don’t know if this is true, (or relevant exclusively to extroverts) but at the very least it applies to me.

Yet I’m horrible at writing.  It took me nearly a month to get my blog started – a relatively simple task.  Why am I so afraid to write?

Aside from the pesky fear of failure, I think the problem is that I’m a perfectionist when I know somebody is going to read what I’m writing.  This is bad for blogging.  I mean, I don’t think there is anything wrong with revisions.  As a matter of fact, I tend to do my best writing when I just get my thoughts down on paper (say roughly, 75-90% of my writing is done here) and then I come back after an hour, or the next day, make a few edits and call it complete.

I do have a tendency to make these revisions and get to 95%.  And then I step away and come back for another round of revisions.  96%.  After a while I am well into diminishing returns.  96.5%.  96.8%.  97%.  Crap.  All of a sudden it’s been 3 days and I still haven’t posted my update.

At this point I am just reading over the same text again and again without creating any tangible difference. Maybe I’m removing an unnecessary comma (I do have a tendency to use commas when in doubt) or switching out synonyms, but I need to learn to stop after that first revision.

My plan for this blog is to allow one revision before posting, with occasional exceptions, such as times when drastic changes occur in the first revision.  So yes, there will be minor typos.  I’m not writing a book, I’m writing a blog.  I still believe in holding myself to high standards, but I don’t want to torture myself worrying about little mistakes.  As I’ve learned again and again as a marketer: Content is King! and I have to decide if I want to publish 1 flawless blog or 10 almost perfect ones. So for the sake of content, I am going to provide posts at a quality level that allows me to stay sane and keep my readers happy.  No worries.  No (well…minimal) regrets.

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