As a writer, photographer, fashion designer, musician, or any other type of creative professional, you care deeply about the content you produce. You want every article, picture, piece of apparel, or song you share to invoke a certain feeling. You want the reader or consumer or listener to ask challenging questions, see a situation with a different perspective, explore new ideas, and create different experiences for themselves. These types of reactions can be challenging to produce, which is why it is all too easy to become completely obsessed with your work, even to a point of compulsiveness.
When brainstorming blog content, I often ask myself questions like, “What am I trying to convey in this blog post?”, “Is this topic even noteworthy?”, “How will my audience react to this viewpoint?” “Is the content I’m creating even good?”
That last question can drive any individual absolutely mad. Too many times I have been hesitant to release my content to the public out of fear that it isn’t “perfect” or aesthetically pleasing. I don’t even want to admit how many Instagram posts I’ve deleted from DC Eatings because of low numbers of “likes”. Does that picture of butternut squash orzo look appetizing? Should I brighten the image? Take away some of the shadow? Is my writing even that entertaining? Do I use too many cliches in my blog posts? Is my content even reaching an audience? Do I ask too many damn questions??
These concerns will swim around my mind for days, and ultimately create a veil of self-doubt over my work. I’ll edit and edit and edit until I’m left with a piece of content that, quite honestly, looked or sounded its best in its original form. This process is exhausting if you couldn’t already tell.
I have no problem admitting that I’m a Type-A person. I’m very much a perfectionist, and often times to a fault. If I don’t get that rush of adrenaline right as a click the “post” button on Instagram or “publish” button on my blog, it doesn’t feel like a satisfactory piece of content for me. As an amateur food blogger, I’m still learning the ins and outs of the “foodie” and blogging worlds. I could easily (and maybe should at times) read about blogging best practices and how to properly use all of the functions on Instagram. Part of me, however, just wants to learn as I go and through my own mistakes.
This is a practice that is completely new to me, if I’m being honest. As the perfectionist that I am, it’s hard to let go of the desire to make my content absolutely flawless [which, there is no such thing as we all know], before publishing. An “imperfect” blog post or Instagram post can cause, and has caused, unnecessary anxiety for the creative person in me. However, recently I’ve been trying to make a concerted effort to not overly obsess over my content, and allow myself to make those mistakes and learn and grow from them.
What has helped with this process is some advice Lily Kunin, author of the cookbook, Good Clean Food, and curator of the blog, Clean Food, Dirty City, dished out at Pineapple DC’s last event. As a female entrepreneur and fellow food blogger, Lily’s advice has made me rethink my current lifestyle, reorient my goals for my blog, and most importantly, has instilled a new sense of self confidence in the content that I create.
When I heard these two simple, yet powerful, pieces of advice, I felt an elephant-sized weight lift from my shoulders. While I have tried convincing myself to erase my fear of imperfection, sometimes all it takes is for someone else to offer you similar advice for it to click inside your head. For me, I needed Lily to remind me of my passion and to reassure me of my talents.
Perfection does not always lead to gratification, and the road to perfection often leads to a dead end. This is something I’ve learned since starting DC Eatings the blog, and I’ve begun to incorporate these lessons into all other aspects of my life. When you say yes before you’re ready, new opportunities present themselves to you; opportunities to learn, improve, and succeed. When you put your work out there before it’s perfect, you let go of the need to obsessively self-criticize, and invoke honesty and truth in all that you create.