Monday, 13 July 2015

'It doesn't need to be perfect - it just needs to be done'

recently, i accomplished a small life dream: I sent an article to a website, and they published it.

I had sent them several things, including two articles that I had spent a lot of time on, one which had been in my head for about two years and which was therefore nicely developed, and a topical article which i dashed off quickly, in the middle of the night, and sent to them as an afterthought - and without editing it much. 

the one they chose to publish was that last one. the unedited one. the one written in a hurry. the one that wasn't lovingly polished and caressed and shaped and loved. 


Of course, now that the article is out there, i am torn between two things: I want to tell the world it is out there, and I want to email the editor and tell her to put in a thousand changes and corrections. because, as luck would have it, i have NOW thought of a thousand ways to improve it. 'Oooh, I could have put this… Ooooh, I could have added that… But I completely forgot to include my hilarious joke about Hitler and the nuclear bunker!'

There are two lessons to be gotten out of this, and the first one is: 

1) Always leave a week between writing something and hitting 'Publish'/ sending it to your supervisor, if you care about it reflecting your best work - because ideas will come to you, and you WILL be able to make it better. (if you don't care about it reflecting your best work, but you have something to say and want to get it out there immediately, then just hit 'Publish).

Which brings me to the next bit of advice and that is:

2) The fact that they chose the one that was the least polished/ edited/ loved, and yet they thought it was perfectly fine anyway, reinforces what we all know to be the First Law of PhD:

'It doesn't have to be perfect - it just has to be done'


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