Finished With Perfection

Depression vs Oppression . WDC . 20apr06 by Elvert Barnes (CC BY)

Depression vs Oppression/Elvert Barnes (cc by)

So it is that a writer writes many books. In each book, he intended several urgent and vivid points, many of which he sacrificed as the book’s form hardened.
―Annie Dillard
You have to finish things—that’s what you learn from, you learn by finishing things.  ―Neil Gaiman

It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be done. 

This wisdom finally sank in at the very end of college, after years of consistently late papers and teeth-torn nails, a blurred decade of running to class waving sheets of paper to expedite drying the unset ink, of intense perfectionism fostering even greater procrastination.

But even a college degree didn’t completely cure my performance concerns. Since that last Philosophy of Feminism class, I’ve had to further tailor my mantra of encouragement: sometimes it doesn’t even have to be good, it just has to be done. When fear rouses self-censorship, any movement is a sign of progress.

Relentless self-criticism is destructive. Better to step back, take a deep breath, and look around. No one else much cares about your hang-ups. Next year you will forget exactly what the trouble was. In a hundred years your fear will have completely evaporated in the desert of time. Stand on a chair or a mountain and expedite some new perspective.

Perfection is a myth―chasing it is futile. Putting things on hold until you reach it is even more wasteful. Use what you’ve got and improve as you go. It can’t be perfect and it doesn’t have to be great, it just has to be done.


  1. Finished With Perfection…What an excellent revelation. Like most lessons, it requires time and opportunity for the meaning to sink in and become really visible. Two thumbs up! 🙂 Thanks.

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