Forget Perfection

I’m at a point in pretty much all my projects right now where I’m getting bogged down by the need for everything on the page to be how I see it in my head.

You know that feeling.

Everyone experiences it at least once in their lives, whether it’s artistic creation or a project you’re working on.

You see it…

You know how you want it to go….

So why does the result in the real world come out as a weird, twisted, weaker version of it?

This is not a problem. If anything, it’s just part of the process. An important part, really. If we don’t set the high standards for ourselves, where is the motivation to learn, and grow, and keep striving for better?

There’s also a time and place for that way of thinking. The final stages, for example, when you’re putting the final polish before you reveal it to the world.

NOT, and I think I must emphasize this: NOT on your first draft.

Not on your second draft for that matter. Possibly not on your tenth or twentieth draft, either, depending on the length and complexity of the project.

But especially not on your first.

The first is all about getting the ideas down. It’s where most people stop on their way from idea to completion. Kind of an early point to stop, but a point I still get stuck at pretty often.

That desire to just vomit your perfect, clear vision on to the page. To transplant imagination into reality.

It’s the dream, isn’t it?

If only it were that easy.

So it’s a constant reminder whenever I start a new draft. First draft: the only goal is GET IT DOWN. That’s it. Forget quality except in its most basic form (this is where outlining in advance can come in handy). Forget perfection.

Every draft after that? Make it better than the last one. Define your focus, slough away the dead skin, hone, polish, bring it all to a shine.

Then let it go.

Even after a million drafts, your project will never match what was in your head.

Sometimes it won’t be even close. Other times it’ll be better. It’ll always be worth it.

So forget perfection and finish that draft.

The Importance of Being Patient