Recently, I caught up with a friend of mine and we talked about copywriting, 9/11, music and who uploads better pictures on Instagram (it was a very random evening).
During the catch up, I was introduced to my friend’s friend. We immediately hit it off and were immediately talking about each others projects and passions. So then my friend (lets call him Tony) told his friend (lets call him Steve) to show me the music that he had been working on.
Now let me just say, the next 15-20 minutes were filled with some of the most incredible, experimental and soul-transporting music I had heard from anyone I had met personally. Steve scrolled through, what seemed like, an endless list of songs – each one completely different in production, yet so similar in overall tone.
So immediately the curious side of me wanted to see how many listens/views his songs were getting. I leaned over to look at his bright laptop screen and that’s when I discovered it… all of his songs were listed as private – meaning that none of his songs were available to the public!!
When I mentioned this to Tony, he immediately responded with ‘oh yeah, Steve’s too much of a perfectionist man’. Steve quickly responded with ‘this stuff is old man, I know I can make much better stuff’.
Despite my total bewilderment as to why Steve hadn’t released any of his music to the public, I too am guilty of doing something similar. On this very site, I’ve written a few articles which I know are ready and good enough to be published, but have decided to not publish and keep refining and making it better. This perfectionism actually drove it totally out the window and one of those article pieces never actually got published – even though it was totally finished.
This brings me to the ONE RULE all creatives must follow. Whether you’re producing music, painting fine art, writing long-form articles or producing short films…
JUST PUT IT OUT THERE.
Your chase to perfection involves time and time can change the state of things. There are simply too many variables, including your personal growth and development, that can interfere with your work being ready to show the world.
This rule is really, very simply to follow:
Got a song you like right now but don’t think it’s going to be your best piece? Just put it out there.
Got an article you know is finished but want to spend more time making it better? Just put it out there.
You must put it out there for if you keep working on your art piece over time, you will change it based on the fact that you, yourself, have changed. Instead of fearing it, embrace the nature of change and allow others to be a part of that journey. It’s a testament to you at that point in time – and the beauty is: years from today, you’re going to look back at that work not in disgust or anger that it’s not the perfect piece of work you could produce today, but rather a milestone which had to be crossed in order to allow you to get to where you will ultimately end up.