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Published is better than perfect

Gage
Programmer working in Hilo, Hawaii. Love Elixir, and sometimes JavaScript.
・2 min read

I'm kind of a perfectionist. I love to read a blog post that's been crafted and polished over weeks and weeks of work like Paul Graham's essays.

But I also have a super bad habit of not actually publishing anything. I have tons of drafts, thousands of notes, all of them are just not good enough. I'm afraid that people will make fun of my ideas or poke holes in them that if only I poured in a few more hours into them I could have made it all airtight.

However, when I was watching a video about how a man learned Italian way faster than most people can. Most people get hung up in following ridged grammar rules but often end up years in not really being fluent.

What he decided to do instead was just learn the most common words of the language (the most useful ones) and just start stringing them together in the ways that most make sense to him. Sure he looks like a total "noob" to any native speaker but that's not the point. He didn't get hung up on hiding his talking till he was, "ready".

He made a good argument for this:

language is not like math. Math has right and wrong answers.

If my son says, "I ated a Apple" I'm not going to correct him. He said words and I understood them. That's all part of the expressive human experience.

Basically, so long as you can relay your message clear enough you're communicating!

I think the same applies to writing. You may not be good at it (I know I'm not) but if you're not sharing you're not learning.

Some people even use publishing as a perfecting process:

...with an annealing policy will usually improve in quality after publication. More exposure = More "heat" = More quality.

I really like this idea. Nothing is going to ever be perfect unless you put it into the real world. There's no shame in modifying your post after you post it! Once it's out there you'll be so much more motivated to fix the problems with it πŸ™ƒ. This post had 10 grammar errors that I fixed a day after writing it.

So just freakin' write it and push publish.

Published is better than perfect.

  • Gage

PS*: If it makes you feel any better just take any popular blogger and stick it into Grammarly, you'll see their post isn't perfect either* πŸ˜….

Photo by Bank Phrom on Unsplash

Discussion (7)

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kotzendekrabbe profile image
Feli (she/her)

I feel you, I have also tons of article draft's which are not published as well as private repositories. We all should be more confident with publishing things. Imperfection is human and we are all humans! Thanks for sharing Gage. Have a nice day.

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justgage profile image
Gage Author

Ah yes, I have a ton of private Github repos as well πŸ˜‚πŸ˜­. Thanks so much for reading my imperfect post, makes me want to write more ☺️.

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kotzendekrabbe profile image
Feli (she/her)

Yes please write more :)

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pgradot profile image
Pierre Gradot

language is not like math. Math has right and wrong answers.

Except that code tends to be like math: if you are talking about the language itself (eg: how does C++ std::vector class work), you may say wrong things. If you are talking about software engineer in general (best practices, abstract concepts, etc), it is easier to "poblish" (I like this word ^^).

Before publishing something, you must be sure code is correct, that the main idea are properly expressed. Everything else can be improved after.

However, remember that we all make mistakes, and only fools can blame you for that ;)

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justgage profile image
Gage Author

Before publishing something, you must be sure code is correct, that the main idea are properly expressed. Everything else can be improved after.

Yeah if my son said, (as he often does) "I hate these potatoes" but he really means "I hate these tomatoes" then the communication is breaking down. But it doesn't matter if he said, "no likey tomatoes" that still gets the idea across.

Code is pretty similar (as I think you pointed out). It needs to do what you want it to do, and being readable makes for good writing, but there are a million ways to do the same job as you'll see if you compare coding challenge solutions for instance.

Thanks for your comment πŸ™‚

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rj722 profile image
Rahul Jha

Hey there Gage, seems like we're both in the same boat. I've named this principle "poblish" – publish; then polish".

I have tons of drafts, thousands of notes, all of them are just not good enough.

I'll quote from one of the episodes, "No such thing as writer's block" from Seth Godin's podcast, Akimbo (highly recommended):

The idea that we are going to create more and more bad work on our way to good work is one way to unlock the myth, to get past the stuckness.

To create bad work is the only way forward :)

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justgage profile image
Gage Author

Lol, "poblish". Looks like a typo which makes it even better πŸ˜‚. I've saved the podcast and will give it a listen!

To create bad work is the only way forward :)

Also reminds me of the software idea that "Worse is better"

thanks for your comment!