The pitfalls of perfectionism

Social media guru Alicia Cowan recently posted this meme on her Facebook page; “Done is better than perfect”. Now, I’m a perfectionist: always have been, always will be, and my immediate reaction was to recoil in horror and re-work the caption into a version which sat much better with my fastidious sensibilities: “done perfectly is best”.

Alicia’s view was that constantly striving for perfection can hold us back, and that it’s much better to produce something (as long as it’s not shoddy) than hide it away until you are 100% happy with it, which, let’s face it, could be never. Normally I’d disagree with the sentiment. After all, I was taught that “if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly”, but her argument got me thinking…

I’m definitely guilty of spending an inordinate amount of time on projects (far more than is factored into my rates), scrutinising my work until I’m happy with every last detail. In fact, if it weren’t for deadlines, I’d probably be living on the breadline! Even that moment of clicking ‘send’ or ‘publish’ on completion of a project, which should be accompanied by a sigh of relief and a wave of elation, is often marred by that nagging feeling that I’d have been able to make a better job of it, if only I’d had an extra hour.

Perhaps unsurprisingly then, my projects that don’t have client-sensitive deadlines tend to simmer on the back burner, being stirred occasionally until I deem them fit for consumption. This website is a prime example. I’ve been working freelance for a while now, always conscious of the need for a website dedicated to my business (as opposed to a page on my blog), but never quite finding the time to create something that I’d be happy to use as a representation of my work. After all, if it’s my business to write effective copy for other people’s websites, this really has to be reflected in my own.

I’ve been fortunate that since I started freelancing I’ve had a steady flow of good projects, so haven’t had to market my services too much. However, the need to consolidate my reputation with some form of online portfolio has been gnawing away at me. Alicia’s post gave me the nudge that I needed to finally create this website.

I’m no web developer, but I know my way around WordPress pretty well, so had no excuse, I realised, not to get something up.

So, here it is… It’s certainly not perfect, but it’s done. Thanks Alicia!

What do you think? Can you relate? Leave a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!

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2 responses to “The pitfalls of perfectionism

  1. Completely agree with this! I think perhaps many copywriters have this problem. You need to be fastidious in many respects to do the job well; it’s walking the very fine line between being good at what you do and holding yourself back. Congratulations on the website.

    • Exactly, and it’s not always easy to get the balance right! I think you’re right that it’s probably not uncommon in the field though.

      Thanks re. the website – it’s a start! I’m definitely keen to launch a more professional looking one soon though. I love yours, and your name/brand – a refreshing change to many of the dull copywriting sites out there!

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