Perfectionism is a serial killer of great ideas. As writers we’re taught to jot down our thoughts before fleshing them out, giving shape to our grammatical arrangements. As we plod through this process it’s been suggested that we do not share our thoughts until we have fully explored and polished them. PhDs and critical thinkers have told us that we must never apologize or make excuses for our work, instead ensuring that they can stand on their own.
This is outdated thinking.
In my new home of San Francisco, engineers are as plentiful as Irish politicians in my old stomping grounds of Boston. The conversations I’ve had with these modern thinkers has led me to one truth: push your idea out of the nest before you sink your life into it and see how it flies.
This has led me to release writing that I could spend more time on if I was seeking perfection. This new thinking has helped me to see my writing not as unfinished but rather as evolving. Once it’s placed at the feet of my readers I can watch as it’s poked, prodded, kicked, hugged, and generally picked up or ignored. It can be an incredibly painful or rewarding process depending on your outlook. Either way, it’s an education.
I’ve learned more from this “San Francisco” process than I have in the past decade of slowly shaping, double-checking, proofing, and analyzing my own work prior to releasing it. It’s required more effort than I have ever put into my writing but it’s also generated my new outlook on why we chronicle our thoughts.
Using modern technology we can all write. Our posts can be short, long, image heavy or text focused. We can share them across tables, tablets, phones, and borders. This is not a time to hold our best ideas close. We must give them a kick and allow others to contribute. This is what we have been working towards. This is why we publish, why we post. It’s not to shout. It’s to listen.