It doesn't need to be perfect
It just needs to be done
I haven’t talked about this publicly yet, but I officially have my own little studio.
Up until now, I spent most of my time in my bedroom. I worked in there. I slept in there. I read and played video games and recorded Reels in there. It was my whole world, and I loved it, as much as I longed to move beyond those same four walls.
So when my mom suggested we turn our spare room into a studio, I was intrigued. Many writers have a room dedicated solely to their work. And there’s something to be said for sleep hygiene. At least I wouldn’t be spending my entire day in the same room.
We spent the last month of the year getting my studio ready. Walls were painted. Bookshelves were purchased and Murphy beds were built. I have a small table for when my friends are over, complete with a candy dispenser full of Reese’s Pieces. It’s far from perfect — my thrifted chairs are mismatched and, in a word, ugly — but I love it all the same.
Last week, I finally got around to putting some art on the walls. My art collection has become a point of pride for me. I have everything from starry landscapes to portraits that remind me of my characters. The wall behind my desk is full of peppy illustrations that encourage me to, among other things, chase my dreams. I feel a little bit like one of those TikTok girls with the Danish pastel apartments, but it sparks joy, and in 2023, I am determined not to minimize the mundane.
Every day I sit at my desk and look at my art prints. I read each one with a kind of reverence, because this is my practice, my discipline of finding joy where I am.
I like who I’m becoming; I’m becoming who I like.
Your fear of looking stupid is holding you back.
Grow at your own pace.
Every day I open Scrivener and pound through this revision. I fiddle with a sentence or paragraph, trying to unlock the part of my brain that conjures words out of thin air. I do this thing where I get so fixated on line edits I forget what I’m working on. One minute I’m upping the stakes of a particular plot point, and the next I’m googling the difference between “husband” and “groom.”
Around this time, I remind myself that it doesn’t need to be perfect; it just needs to be done. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but when it does, it’s like a switch is flipped in my brain. Suddenly I can focus again.
“It doesn’t need to be perfect” has become a mantra for me. I will never succeed if I don’t accept the imperfections of life. Creativity will be a constant struggle if I don’t embrace the often-horrid aspects of seeing something through to the end.
I ordered a new print for my studio, so I’ll be reminded every time I look up.
It doesn’t need to be perfect.
Edit (1/11/23): Updated with a link to what I believe is the origin of the mantra.