Over the last several years, my social newsfeeds have been overtaken by memes and motivational quotes. I blame the lifestyle entrepreneur crowd. They seem to spend more time Instagram’ing how much they hustle instead of actually hustling. But hey – who am I to judge?
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good meme or cheeky quote. What I can’t quite wrap my head around is one particular phrase that entrepreneurs, business owners, and writers alike have been standing behind:
“Done is better than perfect.”
Initially this phrase came about to help us stop the constant tweaking and tinkering. To help us stop procrastinating and actually accomplish something, because sometimes striving for perfection can be the enemy of progress. Unfortunately, it seems more and more of us are using this mantra as a reason to cut corners and save time.
Look, I get it. We’re busy people and time is limited. When we’re on a massive time crunch, sometimes getting the work done is the best we’re going to do. Hitting publish means that what we’ve accomplished is at least out there in the world, and we can start focusing on how to better it.
When it comes to writing and publishing content, done is not better than perfect.
When I was a little girl, I had to do chores in order to earn my allowance. Since I was one of four kids, there was plenty of work to go around and also plenty of helping hands. My task was to scrub the kitchen floor.
My mom didn’t believe in mops. She was more of an on-your-hands-and-knees-with-a-cloth kinda gal, who knew that putting a little bit of elbow grease would go a helluva lot farther than pushing around a dirty old mop. So, every Saturday morning it was my duty to grab a new cloth, fill a bucket with soapy water and scrub.
One such morning, I had plans to meet up with some friends. In an effort to get out of the house faster, I merely slopped soapy water around and called it a day.
I didn’t scrub, so I didn’t really clean the floor. But I was done, so that’s all that counted, right?
As with dirty floors and published content, a half ass job doesn’t mean you’ve accomplished your goal.
Did you know that nearly 2 million posts are published online every single day? How can you expect to stand out amongst millions when your content is riddled with spelling mistakes and grammar errors, incomplete sentences, and confusing phrasing?
Content is a process. You start with a first draft and you finesse it. Sometimes we write stuff that isn’t so great, which is why the editing process is so crucial (something I’ve learned first hand!). Editing — whether done yourself or through an agency like Craft Your Content — is an important step that allows us to discover inconsistencies, reevaluate our work, and improve it.
This process can be lengthy, but the finished product is worth it. Rather than a jumbled mess of words and thoughts, it is now one cohesive piece with key points, a clear statement, and impeccable English.
What I’ve learned is that, without this process, we may end up publishing pieces that don’t represent a high standard of quality or the proper message. Readers can become confused, or worse, uninterested when you’re work isn’t great.
So why do we continue to settle for ‘good enough’ and not ‘good/great’?
Over the last several years, I think I’ve heard every excuse in the book. To name a few…
“I’m on a time crunch” — Cool, I get it. Me too! There are errands to run, appointments to make, mouths to feed, and life to be lived; however, we’re all given the same 24 hours in a day.
By settling back on this excuse, you put the control in someone else’s hands. In this case, you give the Universe and it’s meager 24 hours a day the control, when you should in fact be holding the reins.
Own every hour of your day. Plan ahead, make a routine, follow a schedule. By taking back this control, you allow yourself the time and brainspace to put more effort and care into your content.
“I have an upcoming launch and sticking to the schedule is more important that making the copy/content great” — I couldn’t disagree with this more. Yes, you have a deadline and you want to make it, but by leaning on the expanded time crunch version, you are giving yourself the okay to produce subpar work.
For a product or service launch, you want to present nothing short of perfect. This is what hooks the customer and makes them choose you over the competition. In this particular situation, you simply cannot afford to just be good.
Push the launch back a day or two, a week even. Just ensure that your content is the highest possible quality, because that’s the first thing your potential customer is going to see.
“I want to boost my SEO, so I’m just going to publish as much content as possible” — BOOOO. There is nothing worse than a website full of SEO driven content. Here’s a hot tip: we see it for what it really is and so does Google.
Do your readers, and yourself, a favour and stop it. Focus on high quality, unique content instead and build your traffic and rankings as genuinely as you can. In the long run, this will have more positive results.
“I haven’t found my voice, so I’m going to settle for ‘meh’ quality until I do” — This is a tough one because finding your own voice takes time and practice (check out our free email course on it here!), but that doesn’t mean that you have to be so loose with your content while discovering it.
In this particular case, I would focus more on the actual content (the tips, strategies, information, etc.). Edit the snot out of it to avoid any potential grammar or spelling mistakes and hit publish when you feel proud of it.
As you continue to write and produce new content, you will come into your own. Give it time and don’t overthink it. But also, don’t settle for less just because you’re on a journey of discovery.
Now, these are just a few of the most common excuses I’ve heard, but the list goes on and on. I believe the psychology behind these excuses remains the same though — we’re afraid of seeing our own flaws, and more so, having them pointed out to us.
What many people fail to see is that it’s these flaws — or quirks as I prefer to call them — are what help us improve, learn, and advance. They are what set us apart from the sea of others.
While perfection isn’t realistic or attainable, striving for it sure beats just being ‘done.’ So before you go to hit ‘publish’ next time, be honest with yourself.
Is it a muddled brain dump of ideas and words, or a well thought out work of art? Is it worthy of your audience’s time and attention? Is it something you can be proud of?
Taking extra time to proofread, edit, and be critical of your work even when you’re in a time crunch is your duty, and you owe it to yourself, your brand, and your audience to do your due diligence.
So tell me, is done really better than perfect when it comes to your content?
Sabrina Taylor is a sassy writer and online manager with an inappropriate love for Buzzfeed, pizza and CrossFit. She has over 5 years experience working with businesses helping them build effective communications and marketing strategies. She is currently living in the hot and humid mountains of Northern Thailand, dreaming of hoodies, snow and Canadian bacon (first world problems, amiright?!).