MOTIVATION | BLOCKED BY PERFECTIONISM, I ALMOST DECIDED TO DELETE MY BLOG
"What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing".
I recently made a "come back" to the blogosphere. It's not like I was ever completely gone. But the past year and a half I was really busy and my mind, energies - and most of my time - was... somewhere else... Too bad - but oh so real. Getting my focus back to my blog has, as it usually happens when creating your own path, educated me about myself.
Last week I made a HUGE mistake.
I went over the first posts of my blog and the first videos I uploaded years ago. I saw blurry pictures from my old camera, a design that I couldn't identify with anymore, videos that were too long or too short, some others in which I was too nervous, rambling or that had bad lighting, comments I hadn't answered in months. And I suddenly had this urge of 'starting it all over again'. Yes, I seriously considered deleting many of my blog posts and videos, and simply starting from scratch. Hours, Months, Years of work... were no longer good enough for me. They didn't portray me with the blogging, photography or video editing skills I have now acquired after so many years. And I wanted NO witnesses of this. They had to GO.
Scary thoughts - huh? But that's pretty much the self talk going on in my mind at the time.
After this brief but self-destructive impulse, I took a deep breath. I considered for a second that < irony on> MAYBE, just MAYBE, < irony off > I was being too negative. I took a second look under that new light: I had content which I was still proud of. Content that is pretty amazing for my level of experience at the time. On second thought - I said to myself - instead of deleting my old posts, I might as well, just spend some time correcting some image sizes, proportions, updating the site's look & feel, some broken links - the list was much longer - but fixing all that, hopefully- would be enough. So I started redesigning, not being a designer, and tweaking here and there and maybe also on that other place and so on... What started off like a few tasks that would take me a couple of hours, became a few days of work. Work and time I didn't have to put into writing, photography or production of videos for my channel. This is a one woman show, so you get the picture. Clearly, by attempting being obsessed with making all these corrections, I was stuck in my present creativity.
....and THEN it hit me. Granted, it took some time, but it finally did: it was NOT going to happen.
I could eventually revamp everything, and get it somewhat closer to what I had pictured in my mind, but, most likely, by the time I finally completed that never-ending list, I would be appalled by the lack of content and low posting frequency that had cost me. I would again be disappointed by my work... and think of some other new thing that seems 'missing' or just 'not quite there yet'.
There it was, AGAIN: that shameless SHAME.
But this time it wasn't over not having the flawless blog archive, it was about seeing how my PERFECTIONISM was BLOCKING me from producing all this great NEW content I could create TODAY. The one I had carefully outlined and planned for on my editorial calendar. It was that perfectionism that was preventing me to be the better blogger I have become THANK TO all my PAST work. It is that brave inexperienced blogger I now saw with such harshness, that had taken me all the way here. And I noticed just how deeply ungrateful and unfair I was being to her. After all, this blog has objectively grown beyond my belief. I am thousands of miles closer to where I want to be. My blog has reached almost 100 thousand social media followers < no bragging intended here, my point being, this isn't an easy thing to achieve>. All these friends, readers and viewers who have, at least the vast majority, enjoyed my content, for BOTH, what it WAS and what it HAS BECOME.
REVISITING the past with such critical eyes - doesn't work for me.
Doesn't fuel me to keep getting better and improving the person I am TODAY. Blogging, is a learning experience with a unique twist: everyone's invited to witness it. ALL of it. The good, the bad and the ugly. The EVIDENCE of this process is documented on your Blog Archive. I guess any artist, actor, writer, producer, maybe even a researcher, could easily relate to this as well. I've heard many actors say they can't watch themselves on older movies. Writers who had, at some point, strongly desired to burn what would later become their most valuable work. So, yes, I'm not alone to have these days, but that doesn't make me any less wrong either.
I said on the first lines that blogging has educated me about myself. About my REAL flaw, which probably has little to do with blogging itself. We see a baby taking a first step, and we take a picture and cherish it forever. Looking back, we don't destroy the album because today he/she can run. Why? Because we do learn by doing, just like Aristotle said. And that first step symbolizes the beginning, the beauty of the whole journey. The only way to learn is to take that first step, and keep doing our thing hoping to get better at it with each new step.
We should always look back at our past attempts with pride, because back THEN knowing SO much LESS than we do NOW, we had the COURAGE to put ourselves out there and the GUTS to follow our HEARTS. We CANNOT let our NEW strengths diminish the old - yet powerful - ones that drove us all the way here. Because we DO learn by DOING. By writing, by posting, by taking pictures < add whatever activity >. We learn by DOING and investing the best of what we have at that particular time. And only by allowing us to KEEP DOING without judging ourselves for the outcome, is that we can move forward and closer to where we want to be.
KEEP DOING... AND BE GRATEFUL FOR WHAT YOU'VE DONE.
WE'RE HERE TO BE REAL, NOT FLAWLESS.
Is your aiming for perfection... blocking you from becoming better?