Yesterday in a blog post I wrote “LCD” when I meant LSD. A commenter on Facebook was kind enough to point out the error. It was a little funny and a little embarrassing, and an illustration of one of the reasons it’s so hard to create stuff.
Typos and errors here and there are no big deal. But if you’re regularly churning out copy, they start to accumulate. Not only will people tell you when they dislike your content, they’ll (helpfully) point out mistakes. Nobody emails you to say, “Hey, there were no typo’s in this paragraph”, or, “Great work getting the commas right.” It’d be weird if they did. Still, when you’re on the production side you can begin to feel like all you produce is error. Why take the risk at all? If you don’t create anything no one can tell you what’s wrong with your creation. There is no opportunity to be embarrassed by factual or grammatical error. There is no chance you’ll offend or be misunderstood, or what is sometimes worse, ignored.
The fact that it’s not perfect exudes a relentless pressure toward not completing or releasing your creations to the world. Even if you think it’s pretty good, sometimes it has no effect. Sometimes it gets no traction, doesn’t persuade or enlighten. Sometimes it has an effect opposite intention.
I’ve responded to this pressure by not creating at times. The world goes on and nobody seems put out. Except me. Humans are creative beings. We’re not fulfilled if we’re only repeating and consuming. Production and exchange of goods, services, and ideas are necessary for a full life.
I have to regularly remind myself why I create. I do it for me. With or without perfection, with or without an audience, the process and result are necessary for my own well-being.