PRESENTATION • DIGITAL • PRINT

Finished Is Always Better Than Perfect

Stop futzing with it. It will never be perfect. Get it done.

I read this once in a thread about mixing audio:

Finished is always better than perfect.

It’s been said in different ways, like when Seth Godin says to “Ship It” (below), it’s just that the anonymous guy in the mixing thread said it in a way that really hit home for me.

Ship or Die – Seth Godin, 2010 Contagious Conference from Storyspark on Vimeo.

Stop futzing with it. It will never be perfect. Get it done.

How many unfinished projects have I got sitting on an ancient drive somewhere? Stacked up in boxes in the basement? Abandoned in emails that were forgotten until a total inbox purge was necessary?

Almost all of them had something in common. They stopped because they weren’t ready for prime time. Ever.

Good is the enemy of Great, but Perfect is the enemy of Finished.

We should always strive for excellence. I’m never going to argue against that.

It’s that last little percentage, that final sprint of unending changes that can pull us into an impasse. There will always be some little thing that can be tweaked, edited, revised, refined.

Another way it’s been said: Art is never finished. It is abandoned.

This site primarily serves as my portfolio. At the end of completely rebuilding it, I felt a great sense of accomplishment. The pages were all done, the samples in place, the templates ready.

Then the panic set in. I had this grand plan for a blog, but the posts in progress were nowhere near ready to go.

Was I ready to delay launching several more weeks while I knocked out the content? Maybe. Probably. Almost certainly. It had to be just right before hurling it out there for public view.

A peek inside the author’s workflow process.
photo by Gaius Cornelius / CC BY-SA

Should I disable the Blog link and wait until more posts were done before publishing? Should I pull a few all-nighters and crank out some posts?

No.

This is the post that I needed to make. This is the one that conveys to dear reader that what I’m doing now is hopefully something that can help you, too. It’s often the exact necessary action to wrap it up and move on.

So it’s not really abandonment. It’s crafting works as painstakingly as possible for a time, then crossing your fingers and letting them wander out into the world where they will face their fate.

You do have to let them go, though.

But what about “Everything on the Internet is the final draft”?

Yeah, that’s a thing too. It stands in contrast to the pre-internet age where publishing meant a whole different set of criteria. It was a lot more work to get words in front of others, and it had to be right for posterity.

These days, it’s still a lot of work to get words in front of others, but for different reasons. Our attention span is slashed. There’s more content published every hour than in all of human history before [some year that I’m not looking up because it’s not the focus of this post, and going after it would further delay me]. I burned up enough time finding a royalty-free image of rabbit holes and how to attribute it correctly.

The thing about final drafts is that these days we simply have many more of them.

Blog posts, Instagram stories, comment threads, texts… they’re all final drafts of moments that come and go. If you don’t publish in those moments, they are gone.

Not that we need every thought and experience that happens to everyone.

Say it with me: Nobody cares what I had for brunch

My intention with this blog is to share those things that have made a real difference for me. Productivity, insights, creative inspiration, cheat codes for life… things I’ve been wanting to express for a long time but haven’t found the right forum.

This still won’t be the perfect one. But I allowed myself one last edit and I’m shipping.

Thank you for reading, and for your interest in future posts. I will do my best to make them worth your while.

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