Just Hit Publish
One day last winter I bundled up to remove the snow from our driveway. I couldn’t find my gloves, so I went looking for them in several containers of hats, scarves and gloves in a small closet. I was in a hurry and left the closet door open, and a mess on the floor. Later that day, I walked by the mess at least a dozen times without cleaning it up. Every single time I thought, “I really need to pick up my mess,” but didn’t.
It was still there when I came downstairs the next morning, so I decided to take care of it. Total time involved: less then 60 seconds. I had spent much more time thinking about than actually doing it.
This wasn’t the first time. I remember last year when a small project at work needed to be done by a certain date. It wasn’t a high-priority item so I put it on the back burner. Yet over the next several weeks I thought to myself nearly every day, “Gee, I should really get that project done.” When I finally sat down to complete it, it took less than an hour.
Who among us has the same tendency to think about a task way too long before completing it? (Yes! I see that hand!) I’m all about thinking, planning, and setting goals. But we can take this to the extreme and never get anything done.
The most important lesson I have learned the last year is this: There comes a time to stop planning and take action. Action creates forward momentum, which we need to complete anything worthwhile. That’s why in writing, it’s important to just start writing something, anything, to get your mental juices flowing.
Those of us who are perfectionists have a hard time with this. We want everything to be perfect before we show it to the world. The problem is, it’s rarely perfect.
This was a huge struggle for me when I first began blogging. I love to write, but the technical stuff is very time-consuming and often frustrating. I spent an untold number of hours working on the blog design, learning CSS code, fiddling with the logo (which I still honestly don’t like much), and messing with an untold number of other details.
And because things were not “just so,” I would sometimes make the immensely stupid mistake of letting several months go by without writing anything.
I let myself forget that people don’t care much about the look of a blog–they just want to read something that is helpful, inspiring, or adds value. I ignored the #1 principle of blogging: “content is king.” Not design, not a logo, not getting it perfect…but just getting it out there.
The shoe company Nike was right. Sometimes we need to stop thinking, planning–and perhaps, even praying about something–and with God’s help, “just do it.”
Or to put it in blogging terms, sometimes we need to stop editing our lives and just hit “publish.”
Which, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to do right now.
Question: What do you need to “publish” today?