Not Perfect, But Done
There is a common saying about creative endeavors, “It’s never finished, it’s only abandoned.” In my own life, I’ve found this to be mostly true. When it comes to books or essays, things are finished in my world when I’m both reasonably happy with them, and very tired of them. On the last day of writing my book, my friend Kate (copy editor of this site), who was serving as my copy-and-sometimes-content editor said, “At this point, we’re just moving commas around.” I realized she was right, shrugged my shoulders, and sent it to my editor. Also, my book was due that day, so what else was I going to do?
But knowing I’m done doesn’t mean that putting work out into the world isn’t really hard for me. Even once I’m done with something—by which I mean, I’m too bored to make any further changes—I have a hard time pulling the trigger. Because what are people going to think? What are they going to say? Is the work even worth putting out in the world? So when I don’t have deadlines, what I do is finish work, and then sit on it. I’m not actually DOING anything anymore, other than pretending that maybe later I’ll fix its flaws.
This is the real reason that I run a website with a tight editorial schedule, so that everything I write has a deadline. And this is the reason that I agreed to launch my portfolio site with Squarespace this year. Because despite Squarespace being an awesome platform that I kept intending to use… sometime… in the future… the reality was, I would never actually launch a site without a forced deadline. I would make excuses about how I didn’t have time to play with the Squarespace platform, and then make more excuses about how I just couldn’t get the site right, and then sit on it forever. After all, that’s what I’ve done with my various abandoned attempts at portfolio websites before.
Not only do I have a problem pulling the trigger, I have a drilled-into-me-as-a-woman fear of tooting my own horn. And having a website with my name as the URL, and pictures of me on it, and lists of my work? Well, I assume that’s a recipe for doom. And by doom, I obviously mean not getting asked to sit with people at lunch, getting whispered about behind my back on the playground, having nasty comments written in my yearbook, and having people say mean things about me on the Internet. What is that you say? None of those things actually matter? I don’t actually read my hate mail or hate comments? Well, that sounds like it’s the truth, but it does not feel like it’s the truth, so I’m confused.
Here We Go…
Last spring, I wrote about how good I am at creating roadblocks that I convince myself I just can’t get past. Today I’m here to report that after months of struggling with myself, I have kicked down the roadblock. I’m launching my site today, imperfections and all. It’ll change over time, it will improve, but as of today, it’s good enough. Or, at least today is my deadline, so here we go.
I know that not all of you have the roadblock of putting together a website (though for those that do, I present my “How to Build a Portfolio Website,” and add a rave review of Squarespace). But for whatever your roadblock is, my advice today is simply get help. Ask a friend or a loved one to hold you accountable, to help you when you get stuck, and just generally offer an outside perspective.
At the end of putting together this site, I handed it over to the always good-natured APW staffers Lucy and Maddie and told them to do whatever they wanted. Because there is only so long you can write about yourself in third person or look at pictures of your damn face. And while not everyone has a Lucy and a Maddie, everyone has a partner or a friend or even a parent. You can’t get over roadblocks without a boost sometimes, so go ask for one.
And now, in all its imperfect glory, I give you megkeene.com. As far as impostor syndrome goes (is yours holding you back?) I feel slightly scared and vaguely unfamiliar with the person presented over there. And also, I’m hoping to put an entrepreneurship blog over there one of these days, and add some new sections, and, and, and. But to hell with it. It’s not perfect, but as of today, it’s done-ish.
And thanks to the Squarespace platform, it is damn pretty, for which I’m really grateful.
You can now officially Check out megkeene.com, powered by Squarespace. Please let it inspire you to get working on your own personal roadblock, or give you some encouragement to toot your own horn. Trust me, I know how hard it is.
This post was sponsored by Squarespace. Thanks Squarespace for helping make the APW mission possible! Squarespace is offering 10% off yearly subscriptions to all APW readers. Just use the code APW14 at checkout! Click here to start your 14-day free trial.