Have you ever seen Freaks and Geeks?

Currently enjoying a Netflix revival, Freaks and Geeks is an acclaimed cult TV show from the 90s, and one of Judd Apatow’s first projects. It features some of today’s biggest actors – Seth Rogen, James Franco, and Jason Segel among others.

For many of these actors, it was their first big project. And it shows.

Freaks and Geeks 2

Can you feel the awkward? Almost as painful as your own high school experience. Almost.

During the initial episodes, you can tell the actors aren’t quite comfortable yet. They’re new to the characters, and to acting in general. The audience can sense their clumsiness on every level.

But, as the season goes on, they get better. The actors get more comfortable and confident with their characters. And it shows.

The show didn’t make it past the first season, which could have been deemed a failure for Judd Apatow and company.

Each of these creatives could have given up when the show wasn’t renewed, saying, “You know what? We tried. We got cancelled. It didn’t work out. We need to move on.”

But they didn’t. They kept at it – and got better every time.

The relationships forged during these early days proved essential for later projects, as the actors continued to work with Apatow and each other. Judd and the gang went on to create hugely popular movies, including Knocked Up, Pineapple Express, I Love You, Man, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Step Brothers, and Superbad.

Here’s what I’m driving at: Create something today – even if it sucks.


Yes, it can feel forced and awkward. But it won’t always be. And you won’t always get cancelled.

The creative process is inherently iterative, and it gets better with every iteration produced.

Creation does not require you to be a visionary. It just requires the courage to try. Click to Tweet!

Stop putting the pressure of perfection on yourself. No one is going to nail the quest for perfection the first time around. Perfection is a process, and many argue, an unattainable and arbitrary standard. Nothing will ever be completely “done” or “perfect.” But your creation will be out there, living and breathing and being seen.

You may be asking,”So what, Eliz?” I just need to get out there and publish some crap?

Kind of. While you shouldn’t strive for crap (you’re better than that), you need to get off the merry-go-round of perfection. Because perfection equals paralysis. You’ll toil on this one piece of art and never show it to the world, because it will never be “ready.”

Here’s my perscription for the perfectionists of the world: The best way to get out of the way of yourself is to just press the go button.

Take that creative leap of faith. Will the net of success appear? I can’t make any promises, but I can say that trying and failing beats not trying and wondering. Click to Tweet!

Now, it’s time to put my money where my mouth is.

In the spirit of “pressing the go button,” I’m embarking on a new blogging exercise with my friend and fellow creative gangsta, Kara Werner. Kara and I are starting epistolary blog correspondence, which is a fancy way of saying that we are starting a back and forth blog conversation to keep us inspired (and to hold each other accountable).

Eliz and Kara Chicago

Kara and me in Chicago June 2015. Clearly, we are pressing go on champagne-induced smiles.

Twice per month, we’re going to press publish on a topic relating to digital marketing, with an emphasis on creativity, project management, and processes.

That’s right: We are going to press publish. No. Matter. What.

It’s publish or perish guerrilla warfare. The blogs may be great. They may suck. It doesn’t matter – the point is that we are putting out content and getting better every single time.

So gather your snacks and strap on your seatbelt, because we’re not completely sure where this crazy train is going.

To echo the late David Bowie:

David Bowie | ElizabethRissman.com


What’s your favorite example of creation that became better as it went along? A TV show? A company or brand (perhaps your own)? Let’s compare some hilarious throwbacks to the “before they were famous” days.