One of my co-workers has a poster on her desk titled “The Imperfectionist Manifesto.”
It’s a poster by Melissa Dinwiddie that basically encourages people to not let imperfection hold you back from sharing your creations.
Personally, I love this idea because it takes a really long time to reach perfection and sometimes the alternative to waiting until something is perfect is to not do anything. And then years ago by and nothing happens. But if you move forward, despite the lack of perfection, at least you have something to show for it.
For instance, I started writing songs in high school, singing them to myself and writing them in notebooks. Then in my 20s, I started writing the music for them and performed the songs – in all their imperfection – at open mics.
Then I stopped.
Then last year, in my mid-40s, I realized, after singing many of my songs over the past few years, but not doing anything about it, that while they were a part of my life, they didn’t exist outside my own head. And I found that pretty depressing, since they represented such a big part of my life.
So then, although I could really use singing lessons and guitar lessons and professional musicians to work with and a professional recording studio, I decided to just move forward anyway. I don’t have the resources or the time for any of the above, but I can still move forward in an imperfect way in the best way I can to push them into existence outside my head.
Perhaps if I were younger, I could take singing lessons and guitar lessons and pay for studio time, but my kids are young and I work full-time so not only is my time very limited, but my financial resources are going toward supporting my kids and they are my priority right now. So I’m doing what I can do – write my songs, put them out in Cyberspace (in a Beyond the Notebook blog) and record them in all their imperfection with my little digital tape recorder strumming the guitar I’ve had since high school (and post them on SoundCloud where they might reach someone).
And maybe someday, if I get the opportunity to record them professionally with real musicians and get them as close to perfect as I can, then I would try to do that. But meanwhile, for now, here they are.
(And if my kids read this someday when they’re older: Don’t feel guilty – but if you can use your musical and other creative talent to get these professionally recorded, that would be amazing. Unless they really suck, then don’t worry about it.)