Friday, November 13, 2015

Avoid the Trap of Perfectionism

I've blogged before about the debilitating idea of perfectionism.  One can argue the merits of being a perfectionist, and I am certainly one who would agree there are numerous pros.  Yet time and time again, I am slapped upside the head with the corresponding cons. 

All of you who follow and read my blog (and thank you very much to those who do!) know very well my struggle with needing to have a "perfect" (e.g, clean and organized with few things on my TTD list except writing and writing related activities) environment in which to write.  Often, I blow my entire allotted time prepping my surroundings to write only to then have no more time to accomplish what I've hoped to accomplish.

I'm working very diligently to overcome this mental need for husband would argue my surroundings are far from organized with all my piles and lists..though he obviously has no idea of the organized nature of my chaos:)

I was thumbing through a Self magazine while on the treadmill the other day and ran across this blurb about avoiding the perfectionism trap.  It referenced Elizabeth Gilbert's "Secret to Creativity" in Big Magic.  As I read, it was like Wham! 

And I quote, "Perfectionism stops people from completing their work--but even worse, it often stops people from beginning their work.  Perfectionists decide in advance that the end product is never going to be satisfactory, so they don't even bother trying to be creative in the first place."

Hell yeah!  This epitomizes me and so many things in my life but especially writing.  Giving oneself the freedom to create with no thought to the end product (until such time as one begins to edit, that is) is something I preach though am not very good at doing.  Which is why this month's Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) challenge has been wonderfully enlightening and productive for me.  Thank you, Tara Lazar!  The idea is to generate 30 PB ideas in the month of November.  No one has to see them; they don't even have to be wonderful ideas.  They just have to be ideas, not books in whole.  I am on my honor to create them, and it has taken the pressure off and opened the floodgates.  Some ideas are definitely not so great, but some I am very excited about further developing. 

Now, my mission going forward is to take this feeling of being able to create ideas and run with the ones worth running with and not fear the crippling perfectionism that can often stop me dead in my tracks.

I urge all you PB writers to consider Tara Lazar's PiBoIdMo next year!  More info here...

For now, happy writing and creating.  Let it flow freely without the binding chains of the need to be "perfect."


  1. Ah! To be perfect. Guilty. That's one reason I'm such a slow writer. On the rough draft, I can't just write. I check each sentence. Oops! Need a comma here or this sentence doesn't make sense, etc. I know I should forget all that the first go around and just write. Working on doing better. Thanks for the reminder. Good luck with your PiBoldMo.

    1. Thanks, Beverly. I think what is right is whatever works for a given person, so I am certainly not one to say your way isn't right as it very obviously works for you with great success!