I stopped making stuff for a good while. For the most part, I had no confidence in anything that I was doing. Nothing was perfect and I feared putting my name on pretty much anything.
Then two things crossed my perspective at the same time.
First, a quote I heard – don’t recall from where – which now sits on a sticky note on my monitor: “If they aren’t playing, they don’t matter.” A simple reminder to keep the critics in check. Athletes take to the field, usually in stadiums full of fans that are loaded with opinions. Yet, the only thing they have to care about are the people who are playing on the field.
In other words – I have to stop listening to anything anyone else says about my writing if they aren’t also putting something out there.
The second thing – Hank Green’s video on his productivity: 80%.
Fuck perfection, just get it to 80-ish percent done/perfect.
Zefrank has a similar line: “Perfectionism may look good in his shiny shoes, but he’s a little bit of an asshole and no one invites him to their pool parties.” (this, too, hangs over my workspace)
Earlier this year I participated in my first ever showcase. I spent weeks preparing for it and the end result was pretty much a clusterfuck. All of the time I worried over perfection to show off to a crowd of drunk folks all distracted by the glitter and noise. If I had only invested 80% of effort into it, maybe I would have enjoyed myself and I’d still get the same result.
I see a ton of content on a day to day basis. Some of it is phenomenal and perfect, but most of it is just fine enough to hold my attention. The rest is just gambit to profit off a few seconds of me looking at it. Most of the internet is garbage for the here and now. Production over perfection.t
Most readers don’t need a perfectly formed thought of finality, they just need enough to get their own minds off the ground.