Chatting with my sister just now and I realized that a lot of my problem with this current chapter is that it deals with the people side of the process. And as you all know, I’m such a dynamite people person, so clearly this is my strength.
I also realized that somewhere along the way, I’ve fallen back into the IMPS (I Make Perfect Shit) mindframe. When I’m in IMPS, it isn’t enough to write a good draft, or even a great draft. No, it has to be perfect. It isn’t enough for me to neatly and concisely distill all the information and opinon on the topic I’m working on, leaving a clear and accessible summary — no, I have to impart some unique and brilliant insight that will leave the reader gaping in awe.
Now, you may think this comes from ego, and I’m sure there’s a bit of that lurking around. However, most of it comes from fear. Fear of being seen as a young snot who has no practical experience with this topic and has no business writing about what is one of the most complex topics in today’s IT world. Fear of being seen as a phony. Fear of finding out I’m a hack. I’m afraid of my editor pushing the chapter back to me and telling me, “You know, Devin, normally your work is really good — an easy edit — but now when the rubber meets the road, this is just crap.”
[Message from Devin’s brain to Devin here] Hey, idiot. It’s called a “draft” for a reason! [Message ends.]
So, now that I know what the problem is, I think I know how to solve it. It’s okay to produce material that isn’t polished and sparkling like a diamond. It’s okay to write material that lets the editors earn their pay and add value to the product. It’s okay to not be perfect.
Update: Not only is it okay to not be perfect, most of the time (if not all of the time) perfection is what really kills the effort. More on that another time, though — I have a chapter to finish.