Don't Do What I Did

When I was a budding screenwriter I would do more than 20 revisions on a script before sending it to contests, managers, or production companies. Typically, professional screenwriters do 3 to 5 revisions before sending their work out. So even though I had to tack on some extra work for being a newbie, 20 revisions was total OVERKILL. It's no exaggeration to say that I spent years doing something that should've taken months. Instead of having 10 screenplays in my arsenal, I had 3. Some lessons I've learned in hindsight:

* Trying to make each work perfect is short-sighted. Instead of looking at your creative practice or creative career as a marathon, you're treating like a sprint. In doing so, you sacrifice the big picture for the small.

* The quest for perfection comes from a place of insecurity. We claim that we're only trying to "do our best," when really we're obsessively looking for flaws and missteps and systematically eradicating them in order to avoid the judgement of others.

* The most successful people abide by the rule of, "Done is better than perfect." Instead of giving in to the fear and mistrust of our own abilities, we have to retrain ourselves to do our best within the time, energy and expertise currently available then move on to the next so the work can continue to flow - and grow.

If you find yourself tending toward perfection more than completion take a look at your motivation. Is it driven by love or fear? If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't belabor my work. I'd have released it sooner rather than later and let it live on its own. Too many creative opportunities passed me by while I was searching for "perfection."