Coming from me, someone who took six years to finish my first book, this piece of advice may seem hypocritical. But it's actually something that I've learned over the years and has helped me to advance through some tough projects. Of course you want your work to be the absolute best it can be, as near to perfect as possible, but you can't get trapped by fighting for perfect. You can't let perfectionism prevent you from moving forward, from submitting a manuscript, from taking part in an event or starting a project. I'm not even sure if perfect even exists.
I remember watching an Interview with the Foo Fighters a couple years ago while they were on the red carpet of the Grammy awards. They spoke about making what was then nominated for album of the year from Dave Grohl's garage (or maybe his house) and how music is not supposed to be perfect. I always remembered that interview, and recently began applying it to my own life and career.
And I have to say it's been working, to perfection none the less! Releasing that burden of having to get everything right, having to do everything right, pretending as if I don't make mistakes has been liberating and has actually helped me produce better work and be a lot easier going in my personal life.
The key is to find a balance between being obsessed and being satisfied. Having someone you trust be a second set of eyes could be helpful, but I know that can be tough for many creatives out there. My suggestion is to step away from your work for at least a day, maybe longer if possible (this means no procrastinating) and then going back at it to see if it accomplished what it's supposed to accomplish.
Be hard on yourself, but not too hard. If you're confident in what you do then let that confidence be a gauge for your work. And most of all, enjoy it. Most things aren't as crucial as we make it out to be.
Till next time...