“Perfectionism…the persistence which keeps great artists at their easels until their creation matches their conception” W.C. Roedell
A little perfectionism in terms of our blog’s appearance is something I’m sure we’ve all struggled with. You want it to look professional, but not like you tried to hard; you want to include all the important elements, but you don’t want it to look cluttered; you want to be original, but little to no html knowledge limits your options; and you know your content is great, if only people would take your blog’s design seriously…
You may think a bit of perfectionism isn’t all bad and, yes, it can often inspire and encourage you to reach your best, but, according to Elliot Adderholt perfectionism is actually a major factor of underachievement. He focuses on five characteristics of this, which I think are common consequences of blogging perfectionism:
- Procrastination; ‘I’ll save that great post idea until my layout is more impressive.’
- Fear of failure; ‘There are so many huge blogs out there already, what’s the point of even trying?’
- The all-or-nothing mindset; ‘What’s the good of having 100 subscribers? I’m nobody until I have 100,000.’
- Paralysed perfectionism; ‘I’m so afraid of getting it wrong… I think I’ll just hold out for a better idea…’
- Workaholism; ‘I’m tired and it’s past midnight, but just one more hour to get this perfect…’
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly seen all of these characteristics in myself throughout my blogging journey, and know that they are all counterproductive to real success. Blogging takes a lot of energy, and sapping ourselves dry by tweaking and twiddling insignificant areas of our layout is one drain we could do without.
If we could be at last satisfied with our blogs appearance, we’d have more time to focus on the important things, such as content, SEO, traffic building, subscriber numbers and monetization.
So, how do we beat it? What are the ways that we can whip our blogs (and ourselves) into shape, overcome the elements of underachievement, and see some serious success without obsessing over every detail? Here are a few ideas:
“If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin.” Ivan Turgenev.
Start now, even if the idea isn’t finalised, even if you’re scared of the outcome; you’ve got to jump in head first, make mistakes and learn from them, or else you’ve totally stunted the possibility of progress.
Go with your first instincts. Generally, our rawest, most ‘in the moment’ ideas are the truest to ourselves; the more we question and talk around them, the more we talk ourselves out of them, and the right decision becomes totally obscured. Run with your first instinct, it can always be changed later.
Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS). Don’t set yourself up with a layout you can’t actually maintain on a day to day basis. If you’re not a webmaster, even customising a blogspot blog can be a real headache, so stick with simplicity. You couldn’t get much simpler than my current layout at Charade and yet I’ve never been happier with it, when I tried to do more, it just didn’t work with my limited skills.
Don’t compare your blog to anyone else’s. If you do go down this route, you’ll always find someone doing it better. Trust in your own ability, marvel at your own progress, and celebrate your own achievements. If you do find yourself envious of a top blog; use it. Find out what it is that they’re doing so well and channel it positively into your own blogging adventure.
It’s the content that counts. If you’re going to put your perfectionist energy anywhere, it has to be into the content. Spend your free hours tweaking an article rather than that tricky widget. A brilliantly written and engaging blog with a poor layout is far more likely to succeed than a fantastically designed site with nothing to offer anyone. Although aesthetics are important, you want to create value and a reason for readers to keep coming back above anything else.
Do you have any points to add on beating blogging perfectionism? Is it something you’ve struggled with?