Avoiding perfectionism, let’s get started

I’ve heard about the benefits of blogging from many content creators, specifically mentioned in this post are Ali Abdaal, Neel Nanda and Matt D’Avella, but I’ve always put off starting the project because I was scared of putting myself out there and failing in public. The following will be how I managed to convince myself to get off my ass — then back onto it because standing desks are for sociopaths — and write this post about how I’m learning to avoid perfectionism and the content that helps me do so.

How did I convince myself today is as good as any day to start blogging? I decided to be honest about the excuses I was making.

“I’m learning CSS so I should code a blog site first, then start writing posts.”

Nope, start the journey today on Medium, and switch a personal site later.

“I’ve only been working full time as a developer for 8 months, I should wait until I’m more experienced.”

Nope, in “Show Your Work!” Austin Kleon says I don’t need to be a genius to share my thoughts. Experts have long since forgotten what is obvious and what is hard to understand for a beginner. Sometimes it’s better for amateurs to teach other amateurs.

“I want to read ‘21 tips I wish I knew…’, ‘5 mistakes to avoid…’, ‘How to start a…’ and then I’ll start.”

Nope, there is an endless supply of these articles. We’ll never finish them all.

The “perfect” opportunity to start a project will never come, because perfect is arbitrary and we’ll keep pushing our definition of perfect if it allows us to procrastinate one day longer.

Okay I’ve convinced myself that I have no excuses and today is the day to start. Now how do I prevent myself from obsessing over every insignificant detail of the first three posts, then telling myself this project is too hard after the initial enthusiasm fades away? Simple. I’m allotting a maximum of three hours per blog post and one is due every Sunday at 11:59pm. An added bonus is that my friend is starting the journey with me, and we’ll hold each other accountable to writing these posts.

I previously thought failing meant writing blog posts but no one resonates with it. Or that I write posts and people comment that my writing sucks. But this quote from Neel Nanda has helped me reframe what I consider failing.

The biggest failure mode is that you do nothing, not that you do something badly. It will not feel this way from the inside, but the biggest failure mode by far, is just not doing anything. And constantly procrastinating.

Now I consider failing to be not showing up. Failing would be “telling myself to quit because I’m not a good writer” without putting in the reps to become a good writer.

Content that I’ve learned from

Under each piece I’ve listed which parts resonated with me most.

https://www.neelnanda.io/blog/27-retrospective

Neel Nanda’s blog post on blog posts

https://www.notion.so/Show-Your-Work-7ccf130352454f8fbfb521155b30720d

Ali Abdaal’s Notion book notes on the “Show Your Work!” by Austin Kleon

https://www.mattdavella.com/podcast

A podcast created by Matt D’Avella. I don’t have a specific episode that helped me with this post, but it has most definitely encouraged me to start my creative journey.