The perfect is the enemy of the good. Nearly everything professionally successful I’ve done has been of an incremental, consistent nature. Yet for many aims I’m still on Team Perfect. Especially when it comes to writing.
Two links to shake me (and you?) out of this:
- Seth Godin’s Akimbo podcast that Writer’s Block doesn’t exist – invented by Byron while Mary was pumping out Frankenstein in a night
- Do the Work by Stephen Pressfield.
I even do write – something – pretty much every day in some form. I just don’t complete it, imagining some future time when I could make it not just better…but perfect. It doesn’t get done. Files just atrophy in dark recesses of Google Drive, as they did on floppy disks.
Fred Wilson blogs every work day. Seth Godin blogs daily. Stephen King says he writes every day which makes sense since he publishes a book (often large) yearly. Since 1974 he’s published over a book a year. I’ve thinking about a book a year.
I don’t have any goal with a blog other than to reverse this habit. Starting yesterday.
Good coders know this. It’s embraced in the icon of the “ShipIt” squirrel:
Why a squirrel? Because they’re nimble. Just get one nut at a time. Why a fedora? No idea.
There is something else likely clear: its best (necessary?) to set a time daily to do the writing. I haven’t done that yet. Already, Team Perfect strikes back – yelling internally, “Don’t publish this until you answer this, and answer it later when you know when you would.” Stephen Pressfield calls this Resistance: a devilish internal force. Resistance is stilling me ironically, “Hey, read Pressfield again before you publish this.”
King recommends not showing anyone a first draft, or really a second draft until trusted readers help you with the first. I wonder to break my own anxieties about fiction I should confront it head on, open the document, write it live and in public. Don’t know.