When is it good enough?
Most of us are familiar with the thought “it is not good enough”, whether you are doing something creative or not.
When you are writing a book, this thought lingers in your head all along the process; sometimes it is just a chatter in the background, sometimes it screams at you so loud that you cannot but listen to it.
The brain is offering you this thought because it is scared. It is scared that you are going to put something out there that will cause you shame, now or in the future. Ever heard of artists or even scientists who dismiss their early works as childish and immature attempts?
Who can relate to that, among you readers?
But is this thought useful? Let’s play with the scenario.
Let’s assume that you worked months, maybe even years on a book. But no matter how hard you try, perfection eludes you. There is always a new reason why you feel it is still not good enough, and you cannot possibly show it to the world.
Which choice do you have?
- Keep working on it, using up all your time and energy for one single piece of work.
You might of course think that it is worth, and this is how you can grow, and it certainly is a possible path. But is it maybe possible that you could grow faster and better if you decide that perfection is not required and that you will do better next time?
Think about it. Humanity also develops in stages. The first phone was a far cry from the multifunctional smart phones we have now. I know, now you will tell me this is why you are writing draft after draft. But you will never know whether what you have created is a good start or not if you are not showing it.
- Give up and put it forever in a drawer, eventually starting a new project, if motivation is still there.
But without “real” feedback, it is likely that at the end of the second project, you will have exactly the same thought “it is not good enough.”
Sure, you might say that you just enjoy the process and you are happy to keep it for yourself, and that’s a choice too. Would it thought not be more rewarding to spread your energy around you?
It is like singing in an amatorial choir. After you rehearse for months a piece, you want to have that magical day where you show your singing to the world. Your choir’s concert won’t be in the news as maybe the intonation is not exactly how it should be, or the choir missed an entry. But all in all the choir can still deliver a delightful concert, and spread joy both to the audience and to the singers. You enjoyed the rehearsal process and by showing the result to the world, you get energy and motivation to continue and do even better next time.
- You publish it in some form, with all your doubts and thoughts about a work which is less than perfect.
Yes, in some years you might decide that the work is not valid anymore, but what it the worse that can happen? Shame?
You can decide to feel shame, feelings don’t kill. You will have thoughts that will maybe make your face blushing or will give you a vibration somewhere in your body. But that’s it. Nothing worse.
Or you can choose to say, this was my past. I needed to go through that to be where I am now. I am not ashamed how I started, it is part of my history as a writer and human being. My future writing build on the past experiences but do not have to deliver the same results.
You can also simply say, I had fun writing it. I still like it and I feel love for my work, even if it was not a best seller or had readers at all. I love it because it comes from my work and dedication.
So, what would you choose?
I am clearly a number three, otherwise this blog would not exist!
The thought of my upcoming book not being good enough is still there, but I will deliver the best work I am capable of now. Which includes also find strategies to get support, where it is possible.
I am thus super excited to have found an editor for my book, which I believe is a perfect fit for my story. I am very much looking forward to working with her and make my book grow a step further.