Starting a project is easy. Finishing it is hard. Hard enough that, when we're done, we can feel happy with the results and move on. To truly improve, however, iteration is often more important than completion.
Picture: Wikimedia Commons
As writer Craig Mod explains, iteration is the method of improving on something. Releasing a "finished" product feels good because we have a sense of completion, but rarely do we get something perfect on the first try. Take a moment to be satisfied with a job well done, but then keep going:
If you release the unrefined thing into the world and it doesn't do well, you can always tell yourself: Ah, if only I had refined, it would have been great.
To leave something important to you unrefined -- uniterated, firstdrafted -- is the laziest safety net you can deploy. It's almost lazier than not creating in the first place. It's also mean to those around you. Few things are meaner than foisting a lazy draft of a novel upon friends.
Some of the best work that successful people do comes after many, many iterations. Often times we don't even see the dozens or hundreds of previous versions. This comparison can make us feel satisfied with what we've done knowing we did our best, or defeated in comparing it to others. Both are wrong. Iteration is the key to improvement, and it's never truly "done".