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Perfection kills

December 15, 2009

I have a message for all you perfectionists out there: You’re destroying your mojo.

For those of you waiting for the perfect time to start blogging, that time will never get here. For those of you striving for the perfect design for your site, you’re tinkering around the edges.

I speak as a recovering perfectionist.

Stop making excuses: Jump in, start blogging, keep blogging.

Seeking perfection, while noble, is a momentum killer. Always work to be better, but don’t continue to use perfection as an excuse, a crutch.

Although I’m not a fan of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, the event has at least one great takeaway lesson: Your momentum matters.

Those who finish their 50,000-word novels in 30 days are rewarded with two things: a mass of sloppy, unedited writing, and the use of momentum to accomplish a once seemingly impossible accomplishment.

I believe perfection is a manifestation of fear. You’re afraid someone will catch you making a mistake, or pointing out a flaw on your site, or in your writing, or your thinking.

I get better with each blog post, whether that post succeeds or fails. I don’t get better when the words and the ideas remain trapped in my brain, unseen by anyone else.

In the weeks and months that go by while you chase perfection, think about what you’ve lost: opportunities to build your library of writing, to connect with readers, to build your site into a destination.

Jump in, start blogging, keep blogging.

What other things are potential blog killers?

• • •

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. December 15, 2009 12:20 pm

    I liked this post enough to send it to several of my friends, Thanks Wade!

    • December 16, 2009 12:52 am

      Tom, thanks for sharing the post. Hope they find it a useful kick in the pants. 🙂

  2. December 15, 2009 2:46 pm

    You hit the nail on the head, Wade. I took a two-week sabbatical from writing following the completion of NaNoWriMo, and getting back into the swing of things is killing me. Momentum isn’t just for Newtonian physics and football games any more!

    • December 16, 2009 12:54 am

      Richard, I’ve noticed that many people just have trouble getting started.

      Here’s Richard’s post in response to this one.

  3. December 17, 2009 9:58 am

    Thank you, thank you, THANK you for posting this, Wade. A mutual friend passed it along to me – and after close to a year of inactivity, believe it or not, I posted a new entry that very same day.

    • December 17, 2009 4:57 pm

      You’re welcome! Good to see you blogging again. Keep it up!

  4. jamiegb1 permalink
    December 19, 2009 9:53 am

    Very spot-on. Quite encouraging!

    • December 20, 2009 9:37 am

      Yay!

  5. December 20, 2009 10:12 pm

    Agreed! Momentum is everything. And, although second-guessing yourself is acceptable, deca-guessing yourself is over-the-top. The same goes with commenting – I’m always playfully chiding my Mom because she quit commenting on my blog because she would spend so much time working on a simple blog comment, then second guess herself all together and delete it. Bah.

    • December 21, 2009 1:24 am

      Rachel,

      Given the number of bizarro comments out there, I’m surprised that anyone puts much thought into their comments before hitting Enter.

  6. December 23, 2009 3:48 pm

    This is kind of along the lines of one of my dad’s favorite sayings, “never let lack of knowledge get in the way of a good conversation.”

    Sometimes, I wait for weeks for the perfect story to blog about. Then four things happen in one day and I don’t have time to write about all of them.

    Really, the key is to just keep plodding along, and pretty soon you have a pretty fair body of work! Thanks for the reminder, Wade!

    BTW, note my new url for the blog.

    Happy Holidays, All!

    • December 23, 2009 8:54 pm

      Christine, I certainly don’t encourage mindless blogging (which makes up a good portion of the blogs out there), but you certainly would succeed many more times than you would fail. You’re just too good a storyteller to keep it all in.

  7. Nancy Dorman-Hickson permalink
    December 23, 2009 6:47 pm

    Wade,

    Great post, Wade, and really “perfect” for so many of us (pun intended, of course). Now did you have to post it right at the time of year when I can reach into my handydandy big bag of excuses to put off writing for yet another day? Santa’s not the only one with a never-ending sack…

    Merry holidays!

    Nancy

    • December 23, 2009 8:56 pm

      Nancy, your comment reminds me of a post (or a tweet) I wanted to put out a few weeks ago. Because so many people wait till Jan. 1 or 2 to sign up for their gym memberships, knowing it’s going to be a failure, I was going to goad people into signing up Nov. 15. Before the holidays.

      If people are going to commit to fitness, why wait till after the holidays and extra few pounds? Same with blogging. Write write write, then write some more.

  8. Cynthia Turner permalink
    December 30, 2009 9:00 pm

    I hear you loud and clear. I am working to have this complete by the end of 2009. Time is winding down quickly. This is a great post Wade.

    • January 3, 2010 11:29 pm

      Thanks, Cynthia. Time may not be on your side, but momentum can be.

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