Done is better than good

I love this quote. As an epic procrastinator I think it is worth remembering and trying to live by.

I first saw it on a picture of Emma Adam’s desk. She has it on a post-it attached to her computer. It is from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic.

I relate to it a lot. So often I get paralysed by the fear of not being good enough, that I end up doing nothing. It’s been happening with the conference paper I am trying to write (never done one of those before) for my MA. It’s happened to me a lot with making shows, over the last few years. I have notebooks full of ideas that never get off the page because I don’t know how to make them good. Does anyone, at the start of a project, KNOW how they will make their idea good? I doubt it. It’s not about laziness, or not caring about making something that is the best it can be, eventually. It’s about making a start. If you don’t start, it will never even have the chance to become good.

I think “Done is better than good” is one of the main principles of performance Scratch events. You make something and test it in front of an audience because you can’t really feel the pace or what works (and what doesn’t) until you add that magic ingredient – liveness. But a piece doesn’t have to be perfect or even finished in order to be shared (often venues only ask for 10 minutes of material) and in a lot of ways it’s better if it’s not. The more invested you are in what you have the harder it will be to face potential criticism. To leave room to learn and make changes.

Last month I went to a brilliant workshop at Derby Theatre with Victoria Melody. It was very invigorating. She asked us to write down, on post-its, as many ideas for shows as we could in 30 minutes. I came away with 10 (10!) but there was one in particular that sounded like fun. It continued to niggle at me long after.

And so… with this in mind I am heading into a rehearsal space with a new potential collaborator tomorrow; to try each other on for size, to throw some ideas at the wall and see what sticks. It may or may not be the start if something but I won’t know unless I try.

Done is better than good.

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