Done is better than perfect

A wise teacher once told me that, by continuing to read about and study a particular topic — with the idea that, only when I thoroughly understood that topic could I take action on it — I was stalling.

Take this blog post, which I promised myself I’d write weeks ago. I’ve written plenty of them in the past. I’m a writer, for God’s sake. 

Lately I’ve been perusing the websites of online blogging gurus (who knew there were so many?) and considering taking their free courses with titles like “How to Blog and Become a Millionaire Your First Year” and “Build the Perfect Blog When You Can’t String a Sentence Together” (I’m kidding, but you get my drift).

I am a writer, and writers write. Continuing education for skills-building is one thing, but not doing something I know how to do because it won’t be perfect, or because I have to find that so-called expert with “the” answer I am seeking, well, yeah, that’s stalling. 

We all have our own excuses for not getting a piece of writing done — or not even starting it. But that’s all they are: excuses. They aren’t real, they don’t mean anything, and they are standing in the way of our sharing our stories with others. 

There is a quote attributed to G.K. Chesterton that goes, “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” I leapt for joy the first time I heard it, having been raised on the adage: “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.” It’s how I came by the streak of perfectionism I’ve battled with forever, all because my child-brain heard, “If you can’t do it well, don’t bother trying to do it at all.”

To be honest, I don’t put a lot of stock in innate writing talent. It’s nice if you have some, but as with so many things in life, writing calls for practice, dedication, practice, courage, practice … and a chair to sit your butt down in for a period of time committed to — you guessed it — practice. The more you write, the better you’ll write. I guarantee it. 

At the end of the day, you have to, like the 1988 (!) Nike ad says, “Just do it”; or, as some folks in my neck of the woods say, “Git ‘er done.” 

The world needs to hear what you have to say, so put it out there, flaws and all. As another maxim says: Done is better than perfect.

3 Replies to “Done is better than perfect”

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