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Giving up on perfect

At some point in every draft of every novel I’ve ever written, I’ve had to give up on the idea of perfect and get out of my own way.

Like many artists who want their work to be considered good, the words that end up on the page often fail to match—sometimes barely even resemble—the shape of the story that exists in my head.

Such is the nature of the beast.

No reason to fight it. Just the way it is. People aren’t perfect, and neither are the things they create. I’m certainly no exception. I just do the best I can with what I’ve got.

Still, perfect is one of those things that I struggle with. It stops me up from time to time.

Today, as I sat down to write, I finally identified the problem. Not being sick (though I was) or busy (that too) or distracted (guilty), but just being a damned perfectionist and stubborn to boot.

So I kicked perfectionism to the curb. Once I did, the words began to flow faster.

I got out of my own way by giving up on perfect.

Don’t know why this happens, but it’s one of those things that always seems to come at me again from a different angle. As soon as I recognize it, I remember how to get past it. It takes a mindset shift more than anything else. Just being able to accept that rough drafts are rough, and keep typing.

I got 1000 words before lunch, a good pace for me. They might need some polishing, but that’s the best part of writing—you get lots of second chances.