Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ramble: Good enough is good enough

Sometimes I look at my blog, with its high percentage of itty bitty or goofy posts, and I'm sad. I compare it with other people's blogs, with their long and reliably high quality posts at dignified intervals, and I think that I really should make the effort to do this thing right.

Then I get over it and post a cat picture.

I realized today that my blog, with its erratic shifts in quality, is entirely consistent with one of my most firmly held philosophies. It's a philosophy that can be expressed many different ways. "Good enough is good enough." "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing badly." But it all comes down to: Perfectionism Is Bad.

Now, to be clear, I'm not saying that those people with the reliably high quality blogs are perfectionists. They're simply not me. They're capable of consistently producing creative work at a high level of quality. If they're also producing lower quality work, they're doing so behind the scenes, and they're accurately distinguishing the good from the bad before their stuff goes public.

And that's not me. I can produce and post lots of "good enough" stuff, with an occasional moderately fine thing in there. I cannot post only "moderately fine", because if I required that of myself, I'd post nothing at all. And I'm firmly convinced that it's better to do something mediocre, then to wait for perfection.

And "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing badly" isn't just about blogging. I know a perfectionist, and I've seen the way that that perfectionism deprives her of much of the joy of a normal life. The determination to only read, or watch, or hear, what's "uplifting" or "educational" means cutting herself off from most of popular culture, and as a result losing many opportunities to connect with other people. The refusal to take on new pursuits without a guarantee of perfect execution means that she simply doesn't take them on, and in fact she drops old pursuits, I suspect out of fear that perfection can't be maintained. As the requirement for perfection grows stronger and stronger, the world grows smaller and smaller.

An active, joyful, wholehearted mediocrity is a very fine thing. So I'm going to keep posting cat pictures. And maybe I'll branch out into puppies and ducks.

Image: By RM. Wikimedia Commons.


  1. I love this post! I do the same comparison when reading other blogs, wondering if I measure up. How is it that so many brilliant people love perfume? Could it be that one has something to do with the other?

    BTW, love your blog.

  2. I compare myself to all the perfume bloggers too. So many people who all seem to know so much more than me. And then I think "who cares." I like writing my little bits. Your blog is good, don't worry about it. And cute puppy!

  3. Very interesting post - I own up to suppressing content I don't consider good enough quality - or reworking it until it passes muster, but whether the muster in question is the standard of a perfectionist or a "good enough" person I am not sure I am qualified to say. The Bonkers posts that escape into the wild are good enough for me, anyway.

    One point of difference between my blog and yours is that I don't post daily. I don't think I could up my intervals without interspersing longer pieces with very short posts, quite possibly also featuring cute animals.

    : - )

    Going back to perceptions of quality, I look at the blogs of Perfume Shrine, Graindemusc and 1000 Fragrances in particular and know that I will never in a million years have their noses, knowledge or felicitous turns of phrase in bringing perfumes to life.

    In my mind, I am aligned with a middle ground of "maverick" bloggers, and hope that what I lack in knowledge or nasal prowess I can make up in general silliness and an occasional meaningful insight. And there are degrees of knowledge and nasal prowess within this maverick segment - some people, relative to me, are very knowledgeable. I would go so far as to put myself in the bottom quartile for knowledge and the top quartile for silliness.

    So if the likes of graindemusc etc are the gold standard in perfume blogging, as I perceive them to be, then I am also a joyful accepter of my own mediocrity.

  4. Howdy, Josephine! Maybe perfume increases intelligence? :)

    Greetings, k! Yep, if it's fun, it's fun.

    Howdy do, Flittersniffer! I like the "maverick" classification. :) And I'd say that since you are letting stuff out in the wild, you're not in the perfectionist realm - to me, perfectionism is something that slowly chokes out any output.

    And all three of you have very fine and Impressive blogs. The thoughts _and_ the knowledge _and_ the writing _and_ the visual, and all of it.

  5. I see you as a fellow maverick with a high knowledge AND silliness quotient - the first I came across in the perfume blogosector. After all, having the avatar of a chicken does rather give you a headstart!

    : - )

  6. Baby sloths! More pictures of baby sloths! Cuddly, smiling, clumsy baby sloths!

  7. Hey, flittersniffer! Thanks for the compliment. Is it wrong that I'm even happier about the high silliness quotient than the high knowledge? :) I do have to agree about the chicken.

  8. Yo, Pete! Sloths? Sloths! The key to blogging! I'll have to find more.

  9. I'm the same with the quality of my comments. Sometimes they are relevant, sometimes not. Hey great post I too love bananas. visit me visit me visit me visit me..... see I told you :-)

  10. Hey, Glen! Welcome! Heh. :) Bananas, huh?