Okay, I’ve got to be honest with you.
I’m the Anti-Perfectionist. Yeah, capitalized. I don’t worry about perfection, I don’t strive for it.
I’m just having fun, writing my ideas into existence, and then clicking on the publish button. That’s about it.
But I do have to tell you that my girlfriend, on the other hand, is the exact opposite.
It takes here anywhere between 2 to 4 weeks to write an article. She does her research, writes a bit, does more research, then rewrites the bit she wrote before, and then she deletes everything and starts from scratch.
Her workflow mentally exhausts me.
So, I thought about a solution to help her beat perfectionism, and I came up with a simple strategy: she has to schedule her draft for publication one week after she writes the headline.
This idea came to me from one of my stories, in which a painter works on a series of artworks that are just titles scribbled on empty canvases. The audience has to imagine the paintings into existence.
The same principle applies.
You write your headline and then schedule your article for publication exactly one week later.
You have one week to write, edit, and polish that article. Either way, whether you think your article is perfect or not, it goes live. There’s nothing you can do. That’s the rule of the game.
You have a sort-of deadline. On steroids. And you are facing the kind of humiliation that doesn’t even compare to your article not being properly proofread.
Schedule Your Post One Week From Today
If you’re writing a blog post, just write the headline, maybe a paragraph or two, and then schedule it to go live one week from now.
You can do whatever you want with your article during that week, including rewriting the damn thing, changing the headline, the introduction, deleting paragraphs, anything at all.
You can’t, however, reschedule your article.
If you want to get rid of perfectionism, you’ve got to be desperate. There’s got to be something at stake.
This Strategy Also Works With Procrastination
Your brain now knows that you have an article scheduled to go live. You will either add to it or your readers will have to imagine the article into existence because you have nothing but a headline and a blank page.
Yes, the professional procrastinator will postpone until the last minute, but they will start punching those keys before the article goes live. There’s no other way.
Inspiration is a cruel mistress, but desperation is the closest thing to a best friend a procrastinator can have.
Playing a Game of Fears
Both the procrastinator and the perfectionist are afraid. They’re afraid of failure, they’re afraid of negative feedback, they’re afraid of wasting their time, they’re afraid of a lot of things…
But the thing about fear is that it can be used against itself.
What’s worse for a perfectionist? To publish a less-than-perfect article or to publish a headline and a blank page? Or half a paragraph?
When you play this game of fears, you are effectively choosing the least appealing option as a motivator.
Because I’m the world’s worst boyfriend™, I actually told my girlfriend her next article will go live in 24 hours, whether she had a finished blog post or not.
Of course, she only started writing five hours before the post was about to go live, but she did have a complete blog post by the time the article was scheduled to go live.
Don’t give in to your brain’s infinite capacity for excuses. Don’t give in to your fears, but rather leverage them to encourage you to sit at your desk and do the work.
Remember, you can only call yourself a blogger if you have the guts to click on the publish button.