When I write poems for poetry slams, I have a tendency to rework a line over and over. I want it perfect. I move words around, play around with contractions…I generally obsess. I was thinking about this process because I just finished up with the edits of Networking in the 21st Century and I’ve been working with the interior designer to lay out the book itself. And I’ve found myself obsessing over questions like, “Where should the page numbers go?” and “Will it matter if the chapter headings are 18 point or 20 point?” Every time I get my undies in a bunch I have to remind myself that the details are important…but they aren’t going to make or break the book. For example, can you remember where the page numbers were in the last book you read? I sure can’t.
It’s a good reminder that I have to balance my focus. Everything should get the amount of attention it needs – but not more. I think most of us get trapped giving too much or too little. We either run around in a hurry and shoot from the hip, or we get stuck obsessing over the details. When I err on the obsessive side it prevents me from moving forward with projects that are ready to go, but which I think need just a little more tinkering. So I’m learning to let go a little earlier. Are you working on a project where you could reassess how much attention you should give to the details? Shoot me a message and let me know.