It’s okay to not be happy with your work

When I was finishing off the formatting for Ramble On over the last few weeks, it was taking longer than anticipated to get it done. On top of genuine tech issues, I was procrastinating like crazy and I could feel a knot in my chest just at the thought of getting it done. Something was holding me back. I tried talking to my partner about it (he’s pretty good with the pep talks) and he said as long as I was 95% happy with it, then it’s okay for it not to be perfect.

I couldn’t even say that I was 90% happy with it. The final outcome was not how I had envisioned it at the start so I was grappling with this on top of general wonderings of ‘is it good enough?’ He told me not to worry about it so much – the important thing was that I was actually doing it.

At Tauranga Zinefest I was chatting with the artist next to me, who had recently illustrated a children’s picture book. As our conversation continued, I asked her if she was mostly happy with her work. She didn’t say anything but her face said no. ‘90% happy?’ I asked.

Nope! In my opinion, her illustrations were fantastic. They gave a great vibrancy to the story, reflected the tone of the words, and had a distinctive style. Her opinion of her own work told me that maybe it’s okay for me to not be super happy with my work, either.

Maybe the important thing here is taking that original vision and striving towards it, rather than having something that is perfect. Maybe it’s about actually doing something about the vision, rather than just thinking or talking about it.

I may never be 99% happy with my work – but I’ll do my best to get as close as possible, and be proud of my efforts.

And now, I best get back to writing.

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