This week, I watched a video from one of my favourite people, Dori Clark, who talked about writer's block.
She said, “I don't believe in writer's block, it doesn't exist.” Her point, coming from a journalism background, is that when you're facing constant deadlines, you never have writer's block because you can't have it.
Writer's block is just an excuse. When forced to deliver as most journalists are, excuses can kill not only your creativity but also your career.
If you choose to procrastinate, whether you do it consciously or not, a looming deadline is like having a gun to your head, kicking you in the pants. Writer's block is going to be the furthest thing from your mind.
We tend to think that writing is some magical thing, some uber-creative process where we have to wait for inspiration to say the perfect thing.
Therein lies the rub…
“The perfect thing” doesn't exist.
First, nothing creative is perfect. It's subjective.
What we deem as “perfect” is only because we're comparing it to something else, something brilliant or some other award-winning work.
Here's a shocker for you: even some of the world's most highly acclaimed authors criticize themselves harshly and feel disappointed with their “imperfect” bestselling magnum opi, in spite of winning countless awards.
What you create doesn't need to be perfect. As Dori Clark said, “It needs to be good and it needs to be done.” That's it.
The point is, we never really struggle with what to say. I believe we all have a lot to say. What blocks us from saying it is trying to figure out how to say it.
Think about it: how many times have you had an idea, such as for a book for example, but you never started because you were struggling with the perfect way to express it? You knew what to say. You just got stuck with the how.
All this got me thinking.
Struggling with anything creative, especially in marketing — whether it's brainstorming ideas, writing content, designing ads, copywriting, branding, posting on social media, coming up with campaigns, and so on — is illusory.
None of it is ever going to be perfect.
It just needs to be good and it needs to be done. You can even do this to see if your idea is viable before you dive in headfirst. Put parts of it out there, ask for feedback, test the waters, etc.
But once you put it out there, then you can learn from it, tweak it, improve it, etc. As the saying goes, “Shipping beats perfection.” Or as Kim Monney more aptly said, “Shipping creates perfection.”
Marketing is a test-and-learn approach — a series of small, incremental experiments from which you can learn and improve.
In fact, this is one of the most beneficial aspects of digital marketing, for no other medium provides feedback as quickly as the Internet does. It's a perfect (yes, I meant to say that) testing ground for your ideas, your writing, your ads, your positioning, whatever.
The point is this.
Start the process. It doesn't matter how it's going to turn out. Whether it's creating a new product, delivering a new service, writing a new article, trying a new marketing channel, or building a new business. It doesn't matter.
Start now. And once you do, keep going. Just as the pursuit of perfection can stop you from starting, it can also stop you from finishing. Neither are good. Better to have critic's block than writer's block.
Create first, criticize later. Or better said, create first, improve later.