Don't wait for perfection before you begin - embrace the beauty of imperfection
I stopped watching the Great British Bake Off this year. The constantly overused word of 'perfection' was making me itch. I'm looking for perfectly sized cakes. They have to be iced to perfection. I'm looking for pastry that has been baked to perfection - I grew to intensely dislike the word.
There is this expectation that things have to be perfect at first go. I've heard people in the TV or music business being interviewed and they would say that the pressure to have a hit immediately is high. You don't get sleeper hits or 'growers'. Bands or TV programmes aren't really given the opportunity to take a few songs or maybe an entire programme's season to settle into a groove and really produce the best content they can.
In this online world there are people who have been blogging for years and years. Instagrammers who have been uploading to the app for a long time and have created a beautiful, consistent feed. Those starting out see the magazine style blog content and feel they have to have a perfect site before they start writing. Or feel they have to have perfect photography or videography skills before they start sharing on instagram.
I was tweeting about my course the other week, saying that if you're a writer or creative looking to start a blog in the New Year but didn't know where to start, then my course might be useful.
And some smart Alec said, "Just a thought but if you're a writer or creative then you really shouldn't need help in working out what to write. Maybe just don't start a blog..."
There were many things about this tweet I was open mouthed in astonishment about. This was someone I didn't know judging my work and my potential clients' work without even having read my blog post.
But, in relation to the content of his tweet, what a ridiculous thing to say. He is implying that everyone who wants to write or create has to know exactly what they want to say before they've even started.
Does this not allow for the writer to evolve? To find new things to write about? To practice? To experiment and find their thing?
Why is it that people think you should be perfect before you even start?
If I'd read this tweet at the beginning of my blogging journey I might have given up there and then. Which would be no skin off his nose but I would've missed out on so much. I wouldn't have grown as a writer, I wouldn't have discovered a passion for writing about seasons and chickens and ducks. I wouldn't have learned how to create lovely photographs or how to record and edit film.
I am not perfect at any of this. But oh my goodness I can see the progress I've made. And that, quite frankly, is all that matters.
If you're reading this and the urge to write or blog is with you but you're unsure what to write about. Don't wait for perfection. Just write about your day, or a hobby, a favourite band, a holiday or trip. It doesn't have to be perfect writing. Or a perfect subject. There is no such thing. But just write and see where it takes you
If you are interested in my e-course coming at the end of January about blogging - both the technical and creative side - then do sign up to my mailing list to be the first to hear when it launches. You can read more about it in this blog post.
And if you're looking for imperfection then below is my very first blog post written on 22nd January 2007. I was so tempted to edit it before I included it - but I didn't. Here it is in all its glory:
It's a bit rubbish. It's a lot about me finding my way. It's also a bit embarrasing. But, without that first blog post I wouldn't be at the stage I'm at right now.