“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” – Voltaire
I pretty much live by these words, especially in my creative life. I’m always trying to get new content (songs, videos, blogs) out there. Given my other commitments, I find it’s just not possible to do everything perfectly. But more than that, it wouldn’t be appropriate to try.
Yes, there is a time to be perfect, but it is not most of the time. Most of the time, your job is to create things that are good. Here are some of the situations in which you might aim for good over perfect:
– Your goal is to create a large volume of work
– You have deadlines to meet
– You have limited time in which to create
– You are not investing any money into the project
– You don’t want to have a nervous breakdown
Here’s the big picture: your goal is to create things that will help others. If your audience won’t notice or care, maybe you don’t have to, either (Remember: It’s not about your ego, it’s about your audience).
So, for me, I aim to produce good-quality work in the following contexts:
– New songs that I write
– Home recordings of my free monthly song downloads
– Blog posts
– Anything I write on social media
– Homemade videos
Now, that’s most of the time. But what about some of the time? Ahhh. Well, that is when the opposite applies and you don’t want to let the good be the enemy of the perfect. So, in addition to creating lots of things that are good, you also want to create a few things that are perfect. It’s good for the soul to produce things that you are really well done. So this is your book to your blog posts, your album to your homemade songs, or your finished painting to your sketch. Of course, it goes without saying that it generally takes a lot more money and time to produce things that are perfect.
Here’s how it looks in my world. I Invest lots of resources in:
– Professionally recorded full-length studio albums of my best songs
– Professionally recorded singles of my best songs
– Professionally produced videos of my best songs
Other things that are good to invest the time to make perfect are those in which the reader can make a split second decision whether to hop on board or tune you out. For example:
– Marketing materials (You get only one chance to make a first impression)
– Headlines (If people don’t click on it, it doesn’t matter what you wrote)
– Subject lines for emails (If people don’t open it, it doesn’t matter what you wrote)
Now, here’s the trick: to preserve your sanity, it’s always good to try to have a hand in each pot. On the one hand, you want to produce lots of good stuff frequently and do your best to get out there, imperfect though it may be. On the other hand, you want to produce things that represent your best work and that are done supremely well. So, while I am constantly writing and recording music at home, blogging and putting together videos on my own, I’ve already booked some studio time for next month to record two singles that will be released later in the year. So, there’s lots of good stuff you can get from me for free all the time. But these new songs will be perfect.
And they’ll be for sale 🙂