Courage Follows Convergence


Convergence: the coming together of two or more things to the same point.*

Convergence is also, for me anyway, a powerful predictor, one key factor in the process of discerning and deciding between possible courses of [hopefully] action. 

When similar streams trickling in from various sources converge, I pay closer attention. You should too.

Changing metaphors, I fine-tune my receiver so that I hear more clearly rather than trying to listen to a radio that is one decimal point off station in either direction, distorting, fading in and out, or losing signal altogether. 

One such stream is that of not holding out for perfection but--changing metaphors again--actually putting the vehicle in motion, letting the clutch out, that is if you're a farm kid like me who learned to drive a beater with a stick shift at age ten. Or taking it out of "park" if your maiden voyage was in downtown Portland, driving an automatic like my more metropolitan nieces.  

My closest friends know that I have been, albeit naively, calling myself a writer for some time. I have become timid, though, as more than enough time has elapsed in which to produce something of tangible evidence, and where none yet exists. Still, I really believe I have something to say that might be worth hearing. So my days are spent with pen in hand, my journals are full, and fresh courage is following convergence. 

To that end, I have recently encountered a single idea expressed three different ways by current influences who write on divergent themes and for different reasons--Jeff Goins, Dr. Ben Witherington and Thomas C. Foster. The convergence of these streams has become a flow of some consequence. The nearer I get to it, the louder the sound: "Don't wait to achieve some crippling measure of perfection. Just Start!" "Get going!" "DO something!" 

In Jeff's recent interview with Seth Godin, teaching entrepreneur, Seth says this about actually doing something versus waiting until something is perfect to release it into the world: 

     "When I look back and I see a stack of 17 books, and I see 4800 blog posts and speeches that I've given--none of which were good enough but all of which I shipped--it becomes pretty clear to me that I'm better off shipping than I am making it perfect." 

Dr. Ben echoes the same sentiment in his review of British author P.D. James novel, Cover Her Face:

     "I would not have guessed what Dagleish would become on the basis of this spare start. But then the virtue of a start is that you have put the ball in play."

And then I stumble over this from Professor Foster in How to Read Novels Like a Professor. He tells us that Joyce finds and capitalizes on a style of narrative by Edouard Dujardin that Foster describes as a 

     "novel lapsed into neglect and was largely forgotten in 1902 when Joyce stumbled across a copy in a bookseller's shop in Tours, France." And 
     "...despite a 20-year gap, James Joyce copies Dujardin's style exactly for many of Leopold Bloom's monologues in Ulysses." (Harper, 2008. pp. 162-3)

The point here is not that Joyce duplicated someone else's style. The point is that he did something. He found. He created. But unless he had shipped, you and I and the world would know nothing of it--and be the poorer for it, at least the literary world. (Okay, if you're a fan, you would argue that he DID wait 'til it was perfect, but you get the point I'm making, right?) 

I love this Secret of Adulthood from NY Times bestselling author, Gretchen Rubin:
"Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." 

I think I'll follow the voice of the waters raging at this point of convergence and "ship" this off before my relentless internal editor talks me out of it. 

How about defying your own and telling others here what you are going to stop waiting to achieve perfection in before you "ship" it? 


[I actually found the perfect image for this post here but it isn't free and I'm not making money at this. 
In the meantime, you might want to check out this breathtaking black and white photo.]

1 comment:

Susan Ekins said...

Gwen, perfectionism stops me from shipping, too. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one. Your calling yourself a writer is completely justified even from your well-written and thoughtful blog.