The BS Files are kinda like the X-files – full of myths and urban legends and mysterious things. I feel that it is my duty to tackle them (occasionally). Because, you know, the truth is out there…it feels like time to return to the case files.
Here’s Case #4. Anything worth doing is worth doing well. Bullsh*t!
Oh this little sucker had it’s teeth in me for a long time! It’s the perfectionist’s theme song.
It’s also much loved by procrastinators. I remember hearing my dad say this a lot when I was growing up. He thought he was instilling a great work ethic in his kids. What he was doing was setting an example of how to not ever finish anything – he was really good at that. Actually, he was even better at never starting anything. Because, you know, to do it well was going to take a long time.
When I started writing my first book, I was sure that it was going to take a long time, lots of rewrites and be really hard. Because, of course, I wanted to do it well. I wanted it to be perfect.
Before I began writing, my editor spent a lot of time prepping me. She said to always write forward. Keep moving, keep learning. Finish. You can always come back to rewrite. But this is the most important thing: a book that is perfectly written, but only 3/4 finished and unpublished is not helping a single person. I was writing in the self-development genre, so this really hit home. I wrote my first book in 3 days. I had minor rewrites. It’s not perfect. But it’s pretty good. And it helped a bunch of people. And I learned a lot, and my second book was much better as a result.
Worth doing well enough. That’s a concept. It’s a line in the sand.
We practice this all the time without even realizing. I bet every meal you make isn’t perfect. But it’s good enough, right? And there are some things that you just have to get done, time is more important than quality.
The bullshit part is the word “anything”. Some things are absolutely worth doing well, worth your best effort, even if they are hard. Some things are just not worth the time and care to do perfectly – or even well. Some things you just have to get out there and make a start. Some aren’t even worth doing. Some are just worth C or C+ level work.
Here’s the thing – you get to decide what’s important to you and how much work and care you want to put in. You also get to define the quality standards. Good enough may be just perfect in some instances, leaving you time and energy to focus on what you want to focus on!
Worth doing well? Somethings are worth the time and effort. Some, not so much. You decide. Case Closed.
And remember: in all things – progress, not perfection!