Self-Imposed Pressure of the Perfectionist

As writers and artists, we feel an indescribable amount of pressure whenever we're in a process of creating a masterpiece. Part of this pressure comes from the fact that we are basically giving birth to a brain child. The better percent of it is because we can't decide how to do that correctly. But a large amount of pressure is self-imposed and due to the inordinate levels of perfectionism we thrust upon ourselves.
Photo by Felix Russell-Saw on Unsplash
We've all looked back on things we wrote however many years ago, cringing and ashamed that your mind produced such a tangled mess of unmentionable whatnot. That's not necessarily a bad thing. This is the proof that your narrative voice and your skill has improved. But what about a present work? 

There are about a thousand things for the writer to worry about. Does the narrative sound dry here? Is my dialogue floppy? Is this story too cheesy? Are my characters lame, or cliched?Did I use too many adverbs? Does this sound dumb? I before E WHEN? DO I HAVE ANY TALENT AS AN AUTHOR???

Those little despondent voices add that much extra pressure to the already swelling storm of tension that it takes to pour your soul onto paper. 
The greatest thing you can give yourself while writing is confidence. Confidence both in the story and in your own talent. The thing that makes it so difficult is that a standard of perfection is required to grow your talent as a writer. But it can become too much.

Being too caught up in perfectionism can lead to:
-stalling
-procrastination
-stress
-sleep deprivation 
-self-doubt
-rigid story lines
-WRITER'S BLOCK
-and -20 motivation 

With whole stories ahead of us, plot holes to fill, readers' hearts to break and a blank page to be filled with words, we can't stifle ourselves over the small details. If we become too caught up on the small things, our story may never come to a close.

I myself am guilty of this very thing. I have been drilling away at my book, Beginnings, for well over three years and am only as far as Chapter 23. I wore my writing down to the bone on the first ten chapters and now I have little motivation to push through to the end of the story. 

When you find yourself becoming too caught up in perfectionism, think
-This is my first draft. It does not have to be perfect: IT JUST HAS TO BE.

Allow yourself some space
Writers are already being pressured from so many places ( including the condescending voice in the back of our heads going "get a real job"..). So don't make it harder on yourself. Get your first draft into being before you worry too much about the structure. There is always going to be room for improvement. So we needn't worry ourselves about improving something that isn't there yet.

Let's Chat! 
1. Do you struggle with an inordinate amount of perfectionism?
2. Has perfectionism ever prevented you from pushing onward?


Comments

  1. OH YES. All the time.
    Sometimes it has prevented me from pushing forward, but my friends usually help shove me out of that self-dug ditch.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I can absolutely relate! Friends also make fabulous brainstorming buddies xD

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  2. These relate all too well.
    It does lead me to a stand still but my friends and family usually help me out of the abyss, but I refuse to call projects officially completed for a long amount of time because every time I read over, there's always something to fix.

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    Replies
    1. I know!! This one was hard, because I'm also a HUGE perfectionist. And you know, there are good points to being a perfectionist when it comes to art, but I always get way too caught up in it to actually push ahead. That's cool that you get writing support from your family! Having someone to boost you out of a slump is one of the writers' greatest tools.

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