Craft

Forget your work

A perfectionist’s guide to writing (and sharing) more easily.

Perfectionism is a capricious dance partner.

It can fuel one to create beautiful things. It can also cause unrealized and/or unshared work to pool up.

I’ve experienced both. Particularly the latter.

After some experimentation, I’ve honed in on a simple method that enables me to write and share more easily:

  1. Write freely and imperfectly for the top of the pile.
  2. Put it away long enough to forget about it.
  3. Review, edit, and share from the bottom of the pile.

It’s easy to get stuck trying to write something new and good all in one step. The pressure to write something good makes it difficult to write freely. And the sense of connection to the work is too strong to evaluate its good-ness objectively.

Trying to assess new work’s good-ness now is how perfectionists get trapped.

The antidote?

Insert time into the writing process by putting new work away long enough to forget about it.

Time frees new work from having to be good and makes it easier to identify, edit, and share good, old work.

Good stuff sticks.
It stands out and holds up over time.
If it’s good, it’ll resonate with your future self.

If you’re a perfectionist, forget your work.

Write for the top of the pile, share from the bottom.

🤝 Stay in touch

I send an email several times a year with a handful of the most interesting things I’ve written or uncovered at home, abroad, and on the web.

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