The Most Important Thing Perfectionism is Stealing

We have high standards. We want our writing and our work to be the best it can be. But sometimes, I sit ruminating a post, plot problem, or idea hoping it will become clear in my mind, so I can get it just right. I wouldn’t say “perfect” out loud, but in reality, that’s what I’m waiting for.

Why? I’m afraid. Afraid it won’t be good, afraid it won’t be received well, afraid it will fail. I’m a recovering perfectionist, and I know how paralyzing the thought of failure can be. Perfectionism lies to me, suggesting that my work will only have value if it meets certain criteria. It ignores the process everyone must follow to get better at anything. And the worst thing?

Perfectionism steals my joy and keeps me from taking risks.

If I am hyper focused on being perfect, I am unwilling to follow tangents to see where they lead. If I can’t fail, then I won’t try new things. If I can’t allow myself to write through the muddy and messy parts, I’ll never know the delight of being surprised by the twists and turns and ultimately the end.

Yes, thinking and rethinking is an important part of our writing process, but it can’t replace writing. When we’re frozen in perfectionism, we have to write our way out. Try releasing all those expectations you have on yourself and write for the sheer fun of it today.

Photo by Wilco Van Meppelen on Unsplash