You should know right up front that this post has nothing to do with the act of copywriting.
So if you were waiting for the next gripping installment of “Grammar Nazis Are Your Friends,” you’re probably going to be disappointed.
But if you’re the least bit interested in finding out what I recently learned about my copywriting business (and myself), read on.
At the beginning of this year, I joined a mentorship program led by Michael Port, author of Book Yourself Solid (not an affiliate link…you should just check it out if you haven’t already).
As part of the program, he hosts three live events/workshops throughout the year. During these sessions, participants get clear on their goals for the next 90 days, make a plan for achieving those goals, and brainstorm with others about new ideas or ways of looking at business.
I just returned from one of these events. I took away a lot of stuff from my time there. I mean, a LOT. But there was one thing in particular that was potentially life-changing for me.
I was discussing a particular program with one of his elite-level coaches when she told me to (gasp!) not be afraid of letting things be messy.
WHAT? Me? Afraid of things being messy? Um, yeah.
I do not enjoy messiness. Well, at least when it comes to my work. Not so much when it comes to my house. I doubt you’ll see me on an episode of Hoarders any time soon, but I do tend to view cat hair as a condiment and hand out lint rollers to guests as soon as they walk in the door.
No, it’s not that kind of messiness that bothers me. It’s the idea of sending something out into the world that’s not perfect.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve put off starting a blog post because I was afraid my idea wasn’t good enough or fleshed out enough.
Or the times I had a great idea but researched it to death without ever putting it into action.
Or the times I hesitated reaching out to a potential prospect because I was worried I wasn’t quite prepared enough.
But it’s okay, I told myself, because some day I will be prepared. Just a little more work, a little more research, a little more rehearsal and then I’ll be ready.
The truth is, though, I have to learn to let things be messy sometimes. Because if I wait for perfect, “then” will never come.
Does that mean I’m not going to do my absolute best whenever possible? Of course not. I know me. I will always strive for perfection, especially when it comes to client work.
But it means learning to be okay with the messiness of creating. It means throwing a little figurative paint on the wall and seeing what happens. It means letting ideas flow freely into the world instead of holding them tightly because they’re not flawless.
It means, as the old saying goes, not letting perfect become the enemy of good.
So what about you? Are you R&D’ing that new product concept to death? Do you keep putting off that new website you know you need? Are you hesitant to get that next blog post up because “I’m not a writer”? Does the thought of putting something out there that’s not quite fully formed scare the bejeebus out of you?
If so, I challenge you – even if just for a day or a week – to embrace the messiness. Allow yourself to create, to experiment, to be something less than perfect. Go all Jackson Pollock and splatter some paint without worrying what anyone else thinks.
You might find you’ve created a masterpiece. Or maybe just a mess. But who cares? The point is you’ll have created something that is completely, uniquely, wonderfully you. And you are exactly what the world needs…hot mess and all.
Your turn: Are you afraid of getting messy? Why or why not? Tell me in the comments.