Beat Perfectionism With Concrete Steps

by Elizabeth on June 28, 2012

I know I’m mostly writing this for my own benefit, but honestly, after hundreds of hours of various entrepreneur teachings, and my own seven year journey of internet marketing, I think I may have a good idea or two that you could also benefit from.

In no particular order, here’s ways to combat perfectionism, when it comes to writing or creating informational products.

Plan to write a small amount in one sitting.  Reread what you wrote once, MAYBE twice, and then publish it.  The more you fret, the longer the delay, and the less likely you are to actually get it out online.  Not to be crass, but not that many people are going to read it anyway.  ”Just do it!”

Write short things, not long things.  I know, I know, your areas of passion are SO HUGE, how on earth do you not sound like a Cosmo magazine top 10 tips?  By short, I mean take your idea and hone it down, down, down until it could be just a few paragraphs.  The best part of this process is the honing will actually give you LOTS of different article titles!

On the fly, let me give you an example of this.  Let’s say your expertise is working with teens and parents.  That’s too broad, so let’s hone in.  It’s summertime, so maybe you want to write on surviving the mid-summer slump with a crabby teen at home.  Or maybe you want to talk about how to get your teen to do more chores.  Let’s go with the chores just to hone down.  Getting your teen to do chores.  But you know, “chores” can still be broad.  What is one thing every parent of a teenager whines about?  How about: getting your teen to clean up after they eat.  Voila!  You can take a ton of principles about parenting, teens and chores, and hone it down to JUST getting your kid to put their dishes away.  Now maybe you think geez, I didn’t go to graduate school to write about dirty dishes!  But guess what?  That’s one of the single biggest daily ANNOYANCES of your reader, and it’s an excellent way to get underneath, empathize, and begin to teach!  If you can add in some humor, you’ve just started building that oh-so-important therapeutic alliance!

Let’s say you have something fairly robust for an ebook but you’re struggling with perfectionism around it to make it feel done.  You can either put a lower price on it, in exchange for feedback from readers, OR you could consider it a permanent work in progress, where whoever buys it will get updates on it every time you add to it!  This is like getting a ‘lifetime’ e-book for one low price, and you don’t have to feel hung up on covering everything if some of it just isn’t quite there yet for you.  The other thing to consider is if you’ve written SEVERAL e-books, and are trying to do too much in one.

Prioritize what matters most based on your calendar.  Maybe you scored an important meeting with a great referral source.  Perhaps a big event is coming up and you don’t have a lot of time.  Go ahead and be just good enough, knowing the REAL importance is spent prepping for the meeting/event, and a mediocre website is better than no website.  You can also say that it’s in progress, but by having some real information, the people you meet with, or see at the event, will at least have something tangible to read when they visit your website.  If, however, you focus ONLY on your website, you may be losing out on maximizing the meeting or event.

I’ve got this fantastic “marketing to marriages” e-book and I should have it out by now, but am struggling with perfectionism.  I’ve decide I will read it one more time, and then get it LAUNCHED.  But, I WILL make it a e-book where I”ll email additions that I make to people who purchase it now.  That way it feels exciting to know you’ll get more information on it, and I can get it off my to-do list and into the hands of therapists who will benefit from it!

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Elizabeth Doherty Thomas is a national speaker, writer, and consultant on therapy marketing online. Her new company is called The Doherty Relationship Institute and is launching soon.

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{ 2 comments }

Nancy in Minneapolis June 29, 2012 at 12:39 am

Go, Elizabeth! Your enthusiasm is contagious!

Kassandra Bibas June 29, 2012 at 4:43 am

Great article! It’s funny because I have an e-book on my list of things to write and didn’t even realize I was procrastinating on it. Now my goal is to write the shell of it in One Note and just get ‘er done! Thanks Elizabeth:)

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