How Imperfect Action Can Help You Get Sh*t Done
A little bravery and a beginner's mind go a long way.
Before we get started today, I did a little branding this weekend and created a new logo and Instagram account! What do you think?
I was nervous about starting Publish Not Perish at first.
Sure, I knew I enjoyed teaching others what I had learned about academic writing and managing aca life. I loved working with graduate students, especially when I could see them relax after I told them about my graduate school writing struggles and gave them practical advice on how to improve their writing. The idea for this newsletter, however, did not come to me until the summer of 2022, and at first I was quite anxious about putting it out in the world.
Publishing this newsletter was somewhat daunting at first because it brought along a slew of uncertainties, including the following questions:
Would people question my experience because I was an untenured professor without decades of experience? Would I need a more extensive publication record to be considered credible? Would I invest hours of effort only to find no readers? Would the content resonate with people? What types of content would prove most useful? Would I lose interest in the project after a few weeks of writing?
You can see that my apprehension was a blend of imposter syndrome and genuine logistical concerns. The Jenn of years past might have postponed the launch of PNP for weeks, months, or even years, believing she needed to acquire more knowledge, devise better plans, or attain higher career achievements before trying such a venture. Fortunately, the old Jenn has given way to the new Jenn.
Over the past few years, I've come to appreciate the value of taking imperfect action and understand that failures and missteps are useful instructors. I wrote about the beginner’s mind and learning from failure in this post:
It only took New Jenn about two weeks from conceiving the idea of a newsletter to publishing my first post last summer. That initial click of the "publish" button made me step out of my comfort zone because I didn't have all the answers, but I had the confidence that I could figure things out along the way. In the worst-case scenario, I would attempt the newsletter and glean valuable lessons even if it didn't pan out.
I’m so glad I did, dear reader. You all are a wonderful community that is teaching me so much, and it is such a privilege to come to your inboxes each week.
In honor of you, today’s post is about imperfect action.