You know the drill. I spend hours writing, working on, and editing my articles. Trying to come up with a great title, picture, make sure it’s well written – all that good stuff.
Then when I go to publish, I inevitably think to myself, “Well, hopefully, I get at least one like, because this may be my worst piece yet.“
But even though I think that, I don’t fully believe it. I feel like my writing has improved dramatically over the past few months and that in hindsight I progress with every post. But then why do I insist on telling myself that each time?
The honest answer is: I don’t know. Maybe I’m setting my expectations at the minimum to protect myself from disappointment. Maybe I don’t think they’re good enough. Or maybe I need some sort of validation before I can actually believe that it’s any good.
After all, everything that I’ve already posted has some sort of positive feedback. It’s in the form of likes and comments, which I admit is an unfair way to frame it.
But still, it doesn’t stop me from thinking, “Whereas this one? This never before seen, potential pile of flaming garbage? This could be the one where everybody will decide that I don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m not that smart, or I’m not a good writer.”
Something happens. I publish it anyway. I read some blogs, leave some comments, and move on with my life. Then when I come back the next day, there are normally some likes! Maybe even 10! Sometimes there are a couple of comments or a handful of them!
Can you believe it?! I’m not the worst writer ever! This wasn’t my worst piece yet!
The thing is, yea I’m making light of how I think about it, but it’s not that far off. I really do have these fears and beliefs. And often I struggle with how I see my work and my abilities.
Early on in my blogging journey, I struggled much more with these thoughts. It was a battle. A constant back and forth of obsessively re-writing, over-editing, and over-analyzing. It was way overboard for pieces that were only getting a handful of views. Sometimes it was so frustrating that I would have to just leave posts unpublished and come back to it later.
Persistence is the way
But there’s one thing that I want to make clear because it’s incredibly important. Persistence is the way. Through practice and consistency, I have made significant progress. It used to be tough for me, now it’s no big deal. I wanted to improve, so I kept working at it, and I’ve succeeded.
Before I would stress over the publish button and whether it was good enough. Now, I’m still not always confident about how my pieces will be received, but I no longer stress over that part of it. I may have those nagging thoughts, but I can always bring myself to say, “here goes nothing,” and publish it anyway.
Knowing who you are, your tendencies, and how you act is important. As someone who was too apprehensive about posting, getting to a point where I could fight through the discomfort and just go for it is a good thing. If you’re someone who has the opposite problem where you’re more than willing to post and sometimes let regrettable things slip through, then you’ll have a different goal to shoot for.
We may not all be on the same track, but we’re on the same journey. My philosophy of life is all about progress and growth. Try new things, learn new stuff, and improve. But don’t improve for the sake of being better than other people – improve because the richness of life is often found through deeper understanding. Being able to appreciate the complexities and intricacies of life makes it all the more fascinating.
You want to be great? Start with good.
Another thing that I’ve learned to remind myself is that not every piece that I write has to be a home run. And most of them won’t be. As a writer, I think that part is really important to appreciate.
No artist paints only perfect paintings. No writer writes only perfect pieces. No musician writes only perfect music.
My ultimate goal is to write great pieces. But in order to write great ones, I must be accepting of good ones and even bad ones. It’s a numbers game. Of the pieces that I post, I imagine the quality breakdown looks something like this: 10% are subpar. 50% are passable. 30% are good. 9% are great. And maybe 1% of my work is amazing.
Sometimes you’ll do great, sometimes it will be just alright, and sometimes it will be flat-out awful. Acknowledging and accepting this will give you the freedom to experiment and try things you’re unsure of.
I will add that although not every piece that you create will be great, in most creative fields, you have to choice of whether or not to release it. This can give a false impression of what percentage of projects end up turning into great ones.
It takes time
From the outside, we hear the perfect albums or the one-hit wonders and we think, “I guess this person is just more talented than I am.”
But what you don’t hear are the hundreds of songs or pieces that didn’t make the cut and never saw the light of day. The thousands of deleted ideas and attempts.
It takes time.
I don’t think that I’ve had a monumentally bad piece yet. I’ve certainly had pieces that I thought would do well and ended up doing just alright. Then a couple of weeks ago, I got my first article ever curated into 3 Medium topics. It’s called “Trying New Things: Outdoor Rock Climbing“. I enjoyed writing the piece and thought it was solid – but admittedly, it didn’t feel like one of my best posts.
So in my experience, judging my own work can be difficult. I think the best answer is: when in doubt, just hit publish. Or if you have someone willing to read it for you before publishing, that’s great too. Because after publishing 60+ times so far, not once have I regretted doing so. Every time I was nervous, but every time it was the right thing to do and the way forward.
Only once you publish your work can it be brought to life, encourage a conversation of its own, and live up to it’s fullest potential. If you get hung up on the negatives and talk yourself out of publishing, you’ll never know what could have been.
Just push through and post it anyway.
That’s all for this one! What did you think? How do you feel about hitting that publish button? Do you have a similar life philosophy? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below!
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