Improving the “First Draft”

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Mech Retriever Dev Blog

More work done on the Battle Screen–support for machine guns and other rapid-fire attacks!  Plus tests to ensure you can’t punch out of range, and beginnings of tests that simulate full rounds of combat.  Also a bunch of architectural work as I introduce DriverSteps and a DriverStepProcessor concept to better manage the complexity of certain screens.

One thing I’ve noticed is that Perfectionism is a loaded concept.  Some people praise it and some people disparage it, and some people admit to having it or not with positive or negative associations.  Generally though, I’ve seen more people treat Perfectionism as a losing battle where you have trouble starting things or getting them done because they “have to be perfect.”

While it’s true that you should know when to “declare victory and move on,” and make sure you are hung up on being perfect right away, I’ve also seen it go the other way, where people are afraid of the “Perfectionism stigma” and then settle for the first thing that works.  This extreme is also an awful one.

You have to refine things.  We are human, and will never do things absolutely perfectly.  While that means we shouldn’t get hung up on trying to be perfect, it also means there is always room for improvement.  But more than that, it means our first draft should be improved upon.  If we don’t refine things after they “work,” then we’re cheating ourselves, and the biggest thing we lose is the opportunity to learn and raise the quality of the first draft.

Think about it–as you make it a habit to improve your first efforts at something, you’ll start to notice there are improvements you almost always make.  Eventually, you’ll learn to start with those improvements in place.  Then you’ll learn even better ways of doing things when you improve those first drafts.  And so on it goes.

But even more, you’ll start to see patterns and principles to a number of the improvements.  You’ll get a deeper understanding of your discipline and this will lead to intuition and innovation, both powerful assets.

So, embrace “re-doing.”  Learn to edit, revise, improve, and tweak; whatever your discipline may be.  If you find yourself stuck in a rut, then this can be a powerful way to get out of it.

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