The Struggle to Stop Obsessing and Just Publish It
This may sound familiar to you:
You've written a blog post on a topic in your field of expertise, but it's not quite right. You keep working on it, going back to it over and over again, always making changes and small tweaks.
Before you realize it, it's been a few months, and you still haven't published the post between all your other work. Every time you think of it, you end up spending more time re-writing it, but you feel like it's still not good enough to publish. This struggle happens over and over again, and is the reason that you've never really been able to blog consistently.
Trust me, you're not alone in facing this challenge. For many people who are perfectionists, publishing content up to your very high standards can be a huge challenge. You want everything to be exactly right before you hit publish. Unfortunately, nothing is ever 100% perfect, and your obsession with the details could be holding you back. Here's why it's time for you to let go, relax, and put your words out into the world.
The Perfectionist's Problem
I've worked with some incredibly smart people at a number of startups, and many of them are perfectionists in everything they do. For the designer, every design must be perfect; for the engineer, every line of code must be perfect; for the CEO, every pitch deck must be perfect. These are people who are highly successful, and their perfectionism serves them well in many facets of their life.
However, too much perfectionism can sometimes hold you back. At startups, you need to not only produce something great, you also have to do it quickly. The mantra "Just ship it" exists for a reason -- it's vital to put your work out into the world and measure its' success. Often, working faster is actually better than doing everything perfectly. Depending on your market, creating an imperfect version may in fact be far better than spending all your resources producing a completely perfect, but unproven product. Startup leaders not only have to build a quality business, they also have to stay ahead of the competition. There's a reason The Lean Startup Methodology is so popular -- it works.
Just Publish It
Similar to "Just ship it", my mantra for content is "Just publish it." For perfectionists, this can be an especially hard hurdle to get over. If you're not a writer, but want to start publishing content, it's all too easy to get stuck in your own head. The obsessive editing cycle you fall into is really about fear: fear of your writing not being good enough; fear of no one reading your content; fear of it not being the perfect, amazing piece of writing that you want it to be.
I have a secret to share: Just because you keep editing a post over and over again actually may not make it better. In fact, you may even be making the post worse with time and overthinking. When it comes to content, simple and clear always wins out over complicated and overthought. You're not only wasting your valuable time fussing with a blog post, you're also not improving the quality of your writing. Instead, you have to learn to just let go and put your thoughts out into the world.
Of course, I'm not suggesting that you publish a hastily-written, sloppy piece of content. On the contrary, you should make sure every new piece of content is well thought out and part of a targeted content strategy. Instead, you may need some professional help to get your next post across the finish line. Rather than getting stuck at the editing stage, a professional editor can help give your newest piece focus, organization, and professional polish that will make you more comfortable with hitting the publish button.
An editor can approach that sentence you've been working on with fresh eyes, and immediately find a small tweak that will make the whole sentence flow perfectly. An editor can also suggest changes and improvements you might not have thought of yourself. And most importantly, after a few rounds of edits, an editor will help hold you accountable to your own writing goals and make sure the post is published on time. With the right partner in content, you can write authentic, interesting and relevant posts from your own unique perspective. And that is far more powerful and relatable than writing something "perfect."
Ready to stop obsessing over content and just hit publish?