Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.
I randomly opened this book to page 28 this morning (the chapter on Perfectionism), and knew somehow that it applied to my writing life, or to me in general. I write a lot – every day in fact, mostly about relationships (dating, single life, romance, etc.) and less about the emotional pain and struggles that have shaped my life. I don’t know if I really have to write about that, although it’s compelling stuff – or if that has anything at all to do with perfectionism. Maybe not.
But wait, as a single woman, I do expect the men I encounter to meet a set of high standards. Or maybe they’re not so high. Basic conversation isn’t a lot to ask. And what about stalker tendencies? There you have it – current struggles.
- Anne Lamott On Coming Back After Tragedy (onpoint.wbur.org)
- “Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts” (gointothestory.blcklst.com)