Why do it this way, if it can be better? Why be good when you can be great? I am not a person who is easily satisfied. I like things to reach their full potential (which is all relative of course, but in my own mind that means: better than it is now). However, sometimes this perfectionism can distract me from what is really important.
This is especially true in creating art and the formation of ideas. I often try to wait until I have a good idea to begin writing the next chapter in my story. Or I’ll wait weeks to write a song until I’m sure that the idea in my head is worthy. Basically, I’m waiting for the brilliant inspiration to knock on my door before I decide to go to work. This is wrong.
This is wrong because it takes on the presumption that one can be brilliant all the time: that a songwriter only writes hits, that an author only writes best sellers, that a baseball player only hits home runs, that a dancer only dances with grace and beauty. I like to write, but 99% of what I write is crap. Every once in a while I write something brilliant and I think “Wow! That couldn’t have possibly come from me.” But that’s 1 freaking percent of the time! Dancers fall in the middle of pirouettes. Baseball players strike out. Authors’ books turn out to be flops. However, that is only 99% of the time: the time of preparation, hard work, and dedication.
The 1% is your streak of genius.
I have to think of myself as Santa Claus – for 364 days of the year I am preparing. Then Christmas Eve is when all the joy and genius pour out in rush and frenzy. Then when all the excitement dies down – I return to my work and prepare for next year.