Perfectish – A User’s Guide


cute kitten in a pot

Right, guys.

Let’s get one thing straight.

Perfect doesn’t exist.

There is no such thing as perfect.

What is perfect to one person’s eyes, may not be to another’s.

peering through a magnifying glass

With writing, perfect is even more of a personal point of view.

Your spelling, grammar, syntax and story may be perfect to you, but Penny Pickall from Pickering will still find something to knock it off the perfect pedestal.

Word choice, spelling variations and formatting will all come into play to make perfect a pipe dream.

cups, trophies and winners

So let’s ditch perfect, and all the negative connotations for anything less than perfect.

If we don’t, we’ll all end up frustrated and feeling rubbish.

Instead, why don’t we concentrate on ‘as good as we can get it within the constraints of society’?

What word should we use? Adequate won’t cut it – who wants ‘adequate’?

How about perfectish? Let’s all strive for perfectish. It’s not as perfect as ‘perfect’ but it’s better than adequate, or good enough, or just about right.

Perfectish, getting it just about perfect

Per-fect-tish ­ – the art of getting it just about right. As good as it can be.


When we strive for perfectish, we know that some things may slip through, but hey, that’s ok, no-one’s perfect. It can be applied to all aspects of life and it won’t leave us frustrated with ourselves.

Last weekend I handed in some coursework. I’d strived for perfection, but knew in my heart it was a bit rubbish. Hey, I had a gig to go to (and bloody marvellous it was too – thank you All Time Low, you rock) so I decided that I’d try my very best and live with it. I ditched perfect and decided perfectish was about as good as I could manage. I handed in my coursework, (which I’d actually taken time off work to fit in, because, hey, gig time) and accepting the lower edge of perfectish I was happy that I’d done my best. No guilt, no second-guessing. Just acceptance and I moved on (or rather down, to Glasgow, for the gig).

apple on a stack of books

The other day I ate an apple. It was beautiful, like a Wicked Queen had plucked it from a perfect tree, nourished by the perfect food and shaped just … perfectly. And it tasted of nothing.

Today I had a pear, it was knobbly, ugly-looking and slightly bashed. It tasted wonderful, just like a pear should taste. Sure it wouldn’t win any orchard fruit beauty contests, but it tasted like a pear, and that’s what matters.

People, setting yourself up for perfection is just setting yourself up for disappointment and broken dreams.


So, when it comes to trying to get everything perfect, just give yourself and others some slack, and settle for perfectish instead.

It doesn’t mean that it won’t be perfect, just accept that it might not be. And that’s totally fine.

target, dartboard bullseye

So if you are a writer looking for perfection, a business wanting to attract customers or a student wanting to get your best grade, here’s how you can get things as near to damn perfect as possible:

  • Do your homework – what does perfectish mean to you? What leeway are you willing to accept?
  • Make sure your base is looking great (this doesn’t just apply to make-up – with anything, if you build on solid foundations you’re going to get a better result).
  • Get it as right as possible the first time. The more revisions there are, the more you pick, the more chance there is of introducing errors.
  • When you bring in the professionals, trust that they are professionals and let them do their job.
  • Remember you are seeking perfectish, not perfect. You won’t get perfect, so put it out of your mind. If you get damn near perfect, that’s still perfectish, and that’s amazing.
  • Know when things are perfectish enough to call it a day. The more you push, the more you seek perfection and the less likely you are to get it.


don't panic

Remember, ‘perfect’ doesn’t always mean flawless and free from errors. Even the Oxford Dictionary has the definition:

‘Having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics;

as good as it is possible to be’


So let’s ditch ‘perfect’ and strive for ‘perfectish’.

Get things just about right. As good as they can be.

Then move on.

Get your life back and be proud of your achievements rather than worry about what you can’t see.

17 Comments on “Perfectish – A User’s Guide

  1. Great post, Sara! That Penny Pickall from Pickering is a perfect nuisance! I hope you don’t mind if I share this?

  2. Great post, Sara! Trying to be perfect is exhausting and never-ending; much better to be perfectish. Thanks for giving us something sensible to aim for!

  3. Quite right, Sara. Good enough is good enough. Perfection is subjective – especially in a language that has valid alternative spellings, valid alternative punctuation, valid alternative capitalisation… And who has the budget, in money or time, to pay for perfection? We do the very best we can, in the time available and the fee agreed (which may well determine that certain elements aren’t worked on), we turn the job in on time, and move on. Tying yourself up seeking notional perfection will paralyse you, and do no one any good. Perfectish – you know it makes sense!

    • It totally hinders your work. You can keep going over and over, and tweaking and changing, and it fills you with self-doubt. Better to accept that its as ‘perfect’ as you can get it.

  4. Pingback: Perfectionism | Northern Editorial

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