When Perfectionism Gets In the Way of Our Writing Work

When Perfectionism Gets In the Way of Our Writing Work

When Perfectionism Gets In the Way of Our Writing Work
Photo by Randy Watson

When Perfectionism Gets In the Way of Our Writing Work

One of the best things a writer can do for her career is to let go of perfectionism. There are a number of reasons why I believe this…

  • it can staunch creativity
  • it can lead to writer's block
  • the overwhelm and frustration associated with perfection can lead to quitting

When we spend too much time making sure we've thought of every detail before we sit down to write and wait until we've learned enough to take the next step, it becomes a neverending cycle. It becomes "I just need to read one more book before I get started" or "I just need to figure out my outline before I can start writing". 

The thing is, there are so many books on any particular topic that we could find a way to make that excuse for the rest of our lives. And when we use an excuse, we'll find another one when the first one no longer serves us. Before we know it, we're 10 years older and either frustrated that we never reached our goal or we've come to accept the "fact" that we'll never reach it.

We all know anything worthwhile is going to take some hard work. It's not easy letting perfectionism go (I know that firsthand), but it can be done. And it must be done if you want to reach your goals.

We need to stop letting perfectionism get in the way. There are ways we can use it for good things (like the editing phase), but when we're writing a first draft or writing a blog post, we need to let it go. Let it go so we can keep moving forward instead of constantly spinning our wheels. We have to stop obsessing about whether or not we used proper grammar or if we spelled something correctly or if we used the right analogy in our writing. We just need to write.

When we review our work, that is the time to put that perfectionist's hat back on to catch mistakes we let through during the first round. Once we've gone through the work and we don't have any nagging questions or thoughts, then it's time to take the hat off and send out the work.

If that helped you (and even if it didn't), I'd love to hear your feedback. Please come share your thoughts over on my wall – https://facebook.com/jodycalkinsbiz

Jody Calkins
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