A Quick Tip for My Fellow Perfectionist Writers
I have crippling perfectionist tendencies. It’s not so bad that I don’t get shit done, but it’s bad enough that it takes me ridiculous amounts of time to finish anything that I care about.
For instance, it took me a whole 17 years from stepping foot into college for the first time until I walked out with a PhD. That’s a long-ass time.
But I’ve always been that way and I still am. Case in point, nowadays it still takes me hours upon hours to write a short 5-minute blog post.
Sure, I usually do my own illustrations and try to research the topic at hand thoroughly, but still, investing over 20 hours into a 5-minute piece that then flops is no fun.
How to kill that inner perfectionist bastard
About a year ago, I discovered that besides writing, I enjoy drawing comics too. And for some mysterious reason, I’m not a perfectionist cartoonist. I can sit down in front of my blank tablet and have a dumb comic finished and published in not much more than an hour.
This made me realize something. I don’t care about my comics too much for one simple reason — the stakes are low.
- If the comic is crap, I have wasted at most a few seconds of my readers’ lives. No one cares.
- I don’t expect comics to earn money. They can’t. Not really. Medium pays by read time and readers zip through comics way too fast.
Similarly, I’ve recently started “blogging” directly on Twitter and noticed the same absence of perfectionism. Instead of sharing a link to a well-crafted blog post, I just spit out a Twitter thread or write a mini-essay that I then take a screenshot of.
Here’s an example of such a Twitter thread:
And here’s an example of a screenshotted mini-essay: