If I could figure out what I’m trying to say with the hundreds of draft posts I have, I’d sleep far better at night. I’d schedule them in, get about six months ahead with content, and use the newly found spare time to handle other outstanding work in my life!
But that’s not realistic. I can’t turn my creativity and inspiration on at will, constantly struggling to fill the blanks in my stories, looking for the words that’ll make them sing. It’s a vicious cycle where I only make it partway through my thoughts each night, too tired to bring them to a close, having dance the exhausting productivity waltz with my mind for nights in a row. Then I go through my day, sit down at night, and try to get it together — knowing it’ll take more than I’ve got to give to write something I’ll love.
We all have our decisions to make — how we spend our time, what’s actually important to us — I just hope I’m making the right ones.
If Practice Really Makes Perfect, I’m Really Good at Staying Up Without Accomplishing Anything.
I’m a perfectionist — I can’t even deny that for a second. My satchel’s stuffed with projects I’m working on — draft material for the 25 Reasons Your Blog is BLAH!!! and the 31 Things I Know Now That I’m 31 series; a living document with the thought snippets I’m constantly recording somewhere; and a whole heap of other stuff I hope to eventually handle should I ever get my mind right — they’re all ideas I believe could become something amazing… but how will it ever get there if I’m constantly striving for perfection?
I’ve probably always been this way. My family will tell you tales of bringing boxes of scrap paper home so I could work on my ideas — level layouts for video game concepts like you’d see in Nintendo Power playthrough guides; an entirely fantasy novel written on lined paper, sitting in a few binders in the bottom drawer of my childhood desk. I was always working on something, which was fine — I had countless hours available to use toward making it all work.
As a grown man — much like just about every adult I know — time is not on my side. The older you get, the more you commit yourself to other parts of your life — marriage. Parenthood. Family and the full-time job. The number of building blocks that make you who you are only stack higher over time, needing your regular attention if you don’t want them toppling over in a chaotic heap!
This keeps me up at night.
This has me relentlessly scratching away at pages of material, writing and re-writing until I finally get my breakthrough and stumble across the exact words I’d been looking for all along.
This has me worried that much as I try, I’ll never be able to truly fulfill my goals, always finding another loose end to fret over. And I need to learn to be okay with a little imperfection.
It’s Time to Tear Off the Band-Aid Solution and Make Some REAL Change.
I took some time today in solitude to figure things out — put some music on and drown out the world as I search for the next steps I’m looking to take. There’re a lot of easy wins in what I do — write a giveaway post and it guarantees traffic, keeping the blog relevant and opening the door to even more opportunity. Get an important task done at work, and it elevates your status in the eyes of your peers for a short period, helping make the days at the 9-5 a little more tolerable. You can even do some unexpected chores around the house to help keep your family in a good mood and feel a little better about your environment.
But they only help for a bit. When you take those quick wins out of the picture, you’re forced to deal with the harder problems — the ones requiring a lot more thought and effort to make them go away. Marketing and communication plans for a new system you’re rolling out at work. Posts about things that truly speak to your soul and how you live your life, like racial identity and hard lessons learned growing up that create the adult people know today. What parenting choices to make to raise a healthy and well-adjusted child. This isn’t stuff you can just gloss over, and nor should you — some things take a ton out of us before we see them through, and in my case, I think I need to find a way to handle them more readily, making more room on my plate for everything else that matters.
Even more importantly than that, I need to talk less about balance and start practicing what I preach — we only get one life. One body. One mind. Even if you’re an utter prodigy at what you do, but if you don’t take care of yourself, all that potential goes right down the drain with you. A more realistic approach to living my life is long overdue, and there’s no time like now to start applying it.
So here’s to perfectionism. Here’s to looking at our work, realizing it doesn’t need to be astounding on our first go. We try. We learn. We grow.
And the more we can do all this in a healthy way, the better off we’ll see.
Stay strong out there in the big, bad world,