Do you find yourself spending far too long on an article, tweaking and refining?
Is this good business sense? Yes and no. You want to give the client your best work, but if you set yourself a high standard, you want to be happy with it yourself too. Your name and work is your credibility and your calling card.
But where do you draw the line? When does striving for perfection get in the way of practicality and business outcomes? How do you know when your article is finished?
As a Myers Briggs Trainer, I’ve found the exploration of perfectionism interesting. Perfectionism can be a limiting factor and is sometimes not far removed from its cousin procrastination. This is probably a topic to explore further another time.
Designers, it seems, have the same dilemma. I came across this article… A Design Is Finished When… 230 Pro Designers’ Opinions
Chuck Anderson says
One of the most important and hardest things to overcome when designing is to understand when the piece you are designing on is actually finished. While creativity is sometime boundless the end result should always be the result of a clear objective, the end result. I often get caught between creativity and completion…
Some commenters make the distinction between art and design, creativity and business. The stunning graphics in the post are worth checking out in their own right. Enjoying the graphics highlights that to the untrained eye, they look great already. I was interested in the many parallels with freelance writing.
Some things to think about -
As writers, do we make things unecessarily hard on ourselves? Or is it personal pride in our work? Many clients want things rapid fire… now (preferably yesterday). I sometimes get the impression that freelance writers and editors often value our own work more highly than some clients who really just want it “done”.
So, does the client, the type of work and the pay impact on when you decide the article is finished? Does having a byline on your work affect when you’re ready to say “I’m happy with that”?
And yes… in the interests of full disclosure, I did go back and tweak this post a few times…
You know your article is finished when…
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
The elements of fiction are: character, plot, setting, theme, and style. Of these five elements, character is the who, plot is the what, setting is the where and when, and style is the how of a story.