In Praise of Acceptable

I did some perfectly acceptable work recently, and I’m pretty thrilled about it.

It’s not so difficult to write something great when I have a great topic, and time and space for creativity, and I’m feeling inspired. But turning out consistant work? On deadline? Even when I’m not feeling it? For me, it’s generally a lot harder to do creative work that’s consistently acceptable, all the time, than to do an amazing project when inspiration strikes me.

For my work at YD, I create regular game reviews and tech analysis for the students, and that means pulling topics from a content pool of free, G-rated computer games and G-rated tech news, and developing interesting age-appropriate stories at the required wordcount. Sometimes this just flows, there’ve been a couple times I literally couldn’t wait to get into the studio and turn an idea in my mind into a great piece to share with the students.

Other times, it’s me being three-quarters through a project and discovering there’s a way to see blood in this game, or there’s a swear on this company’s site and sighing, and starting over. Sometimes it’s cutting out massive sections of really good work to get down to wordcount, sometimes it’s realizing there’s no way to cut this down to required length. Some days, it’s producing creatively and consistently when I’m just not feeling inspired and creative. And that’s much more difficult for me than the occasional brilliant essay.

Anyway, I’ve recently written and produced a few perfectly fine creative pieces, on deadline, hitting our style, length, and format requirements consistently. And I’m really pleased about that.

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2 Responses to In Praise of Acceptable

  1. Acceptable can indeed be laudable. Especially if, like me, you constantly demand the best from yourself. Being okay with “acceptable” is a real growth step.

    And there’s always the possibility that what you consider acceptable is actually wonderful to other people. Writing ability, insight and all that can be hard to appreciate if you already have it.

    • Meg says:

      Aaw that’s a sweet possibility! But it was objectively just fine. not secretly awesome. I tend towards “sorry this is three weeks late, but just read how great it is!”, which is not exactly ideal teammate or employee behavior. Very often, aiming for amazing and expecting perfection is the enemy of on time, (Er, that’s not saying we should aim lower just that there’s a point where the payoff for constantly tweaking for perfection is lower than the time invested in it, and I have to remember that.)

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