I learned something from a wise sage, Jon Acuff, a little over a year ago and it has worked wonders for me as I have been trying to create content. His big piece of advice, which I wish I would have learned in school and applied years ago, is to keep writing. When you are first capturing your thoughts, don’t worry about the edits and what you could say differently. When you are switching from jotting ideas down to editing, you are activating two different parts of your brain which ends up hurting the creative process. Only after your initial draft is done should you start editing.
Another lesson I have learned along this creative journey is that you need to let what you write just sit there on the screen. Don’t always go from capturing your thoughts to editing. The reason you should allow some space is because your unconscious mind is still processing through what you wrote and is making edits that you are not consciously aware of. These edits and ideas will become apparent as you go back to your document and re-read it and start the editing process.
This simple idea of just capturing my ideas and thoughts, no matter how good or bad, has been a true game changer. It’s something that we all need to apply to our work whether we are writing an article, business proposal, potential contract or anything of importance.
(Example of this process: Started with the title 10/22. First draft 10/23. First edit 10/29. Final edit 10/30)
What we create is rarely, if ever, perfect. If you take a look at my website you will see that data is missing, pictures are blurry and not sized correctly, and there are grammatical errors. Regardless, this imperfection is not going to stop me from producing content or building relationships and sharing in others stories.
The best advice that I can give to fight off the curse of perfection is to just hit send. Hitting send and putting our project, post, idea, or app out into the world creates momentum. When momentum is created, it is easier to take the next step. Momentum is also what allows us to break though fear and to keep plugging away at our passions and jobs so that we can make a difference within those around us.
Now please don’t read this as me saying you should send out crap. What I am suggesting is that just because your logo isn’t the perfect shade of brick dust, your story isn’t the perfect length, your first iteration doesn’t have all the features, or you don’t have that speech quite memorized, publish it and put it out into the world. Our first efforts will never be perfect, but when we send them out into the world, it allows us to get feedback and create something that really matters.
Stop worrying about perfection and start making a difference. Take some encouragement from a guy who definitely doesn’t have it all together and let that project loose into the world. I promise, once you take that first step, the next one is just a little easier to stomach.