When Good is Good Enough / Letting Go
This post could easily go by so many titles...
Stop Being So Anal
Let It Go, Dad!
(Yes, I am quoting Remi from the Pixar animation "Ratatouille". 😀)
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love
the Bomb My Imperfections
the list goes on.
In short, it is about learning to know when it is time to consider something done.
The day I wrote this, I had hopped into my site as things were quiet, and I figured, "Hey, let me see if I can't finish up a post." And then I saw it.
At the time, there were the published blog post pages: all 7 of them. The last one went out about two weeks ago.
Then there was the draft folder where--any time I get an idea--I create a new page with whatever title initially comes to mind (I just go with what pops in my head) and a note to remind me of what to write about. If I am in a place where I can spend a little time on it, I might slam out a few paragraphs while the idea is fresh in my mind. Otherwise it acts as a placeholder/reminder of what had come to mind.
There were 27 of those draft pages. 28 if you count this post, which I just added.
That's right. I had the beginnings of nearly 30 posts, each at various stages. Many are just a line or two to remind me of what I was thinking, while several others range from partially done to pretty much complete. I just have not posted any of them. Yet.
I should explain. I tend to get ideas for blog posts at the most inopportune times. Sometimes it is when I am either out walking, in the shower, surfing the Web (as I tend to scour lots of information), or otherwise not in a place or at a time where I can truly flesh out the idea that came to me. Other times ideas come while I am catching up on my reading in one of the Slack workspaces I frequent online.
[Side note: I must give props to all the good folks in the Packet Pushers Slack workspace who encouraged me to start a blog. I think they did it because my posts in the Slack channels tended to be... uh... not concise. 😀 But whatever the case, their encouragement was what ultimately led me to creating this blog. So thanks to all of you. You know who you are.]
So where in the past I might write up a response in a Slack channel, now I typically start a new draft page of a blog post and write what initially came to mind there in Slack.
But where I might easily type up something in Slack and hit the [Enter] key to send it on its way, I find myself far more resistant to doing so with a blog post. In my mind, a chat/collaboration environment is more informal in nature, a bit like hanging out with friends and having a conversation. You do not worry near as much about your grammar and sentence structure when talking with friends over the weekend vs. when you are doing a presentation for work. It is a bit the same here, at least for me. Slack feels more informal and "among friends", so what is a typo here or there? But a blog post, being posted online, tends to trigger in me the same thing as when I used to write papers/reports in school, or when I wrote cover letters and resumes, or anything I write for work or in a professional context.
Going back further in my life, when I was high school and even college, I was (and frankly still am) a bit of a Type A personality. I was also a bit of a perfectionist. And many folks are familiar with the expression
Perfect is the enemy of good. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_is_the_enemy_of_good
Well "perfect" was the enemy of my grades. I had times when, instead of turning in what I had done, if I felt it was not finished or good enough, I simply did not turn it in. Yep, totally stupid. I would get a fat zero instead of a partial grade. 🤦♂️
Now eventually I got past that. I do not say that I enjoy it. Internally at times I still find myself feeling like, "Gee, I really don't like this. It's not ready yet." But I have learned that good is often good enough. And in the end, not turning something in, not putting something into production, not submitting something, is often far worse, as it means whatever it is might as well not exist at all. And that means all the effort you have put into it was a total waste.
So it is better to turn in that paper, put that code into production, submit that application, etc. Because in most cases, it is good enough. And even when it is not, often it is something you can improve upon later. To use the common Silicon Valley maxim: release early and release often. That is far better than not to release at all. And as I reserve the right to edit any posts, I know if that itch hits me, I can just go back and make whatever change is needed.
All this to say, if this resonates with anyone reading this, do not be your own worst enemy. When you find yourself in such a situation, focus not on how incomplete/imperfect something is, but rather focus on how not turning in that assignment / submitting that blog / etc. means no progress has been made at all. Better a glass half full than no glass at all.
[I started this post earlier this afternoon, and my intention was to bang out this post in one go, just to get me moving. I even created the header image (thanks to Meme Generator for helping me with the initial image and Pixelmator Pro for making editing it so easy). But between having to go shopping, my son asking to play a game with me, and then dinner plans with a friend, I had to save this and circle back to it before bedtime. But I was determined to still simply finish and publish this, as it is really more for me than anyone.]