Perfectionism as a Crippling Force

Over on Peter Bregman's How We Work blog, there's a fabulous, must-read post called "How to Escape Perfectionism."

I absolutely believe perfectionism cripples many writers, and that it's really just another word for fear.

Here's my favorite quote from Bregman's post:

[T]he world doesn't reward perfection. It rewards productivity. And productivity can only be achieved through imperfection. Make a decision. Follow through. Learn from the outcome. Repeat over and over and over again. It's the scientific method of trial and error. Only by wading through the imperfect can we begin to achieve glimpses of the perfect.

So for now, I plan to put aside my need to write the scene perfectly and instead go for the very best that I can do today. Because tomorrow, I can clean it up. The next day, I can seek outside input. The day after, I can respond to feedback that resonates with me.

Writing isn't live performance art. It isn't improv. We don't have to get it right on the first take.

Isn't that a huge relief?


Joni Rodgers said…
Amen to that. Good advice to start the week. Thanks, Colleen.
Excellent blog thought--and thank you for the link to the article, Colleen.
And..."Writing isn't live performance art. It isn't improv. We don't have to get it right on the first take." WOW! Just added that to my list of favorite quotes. I should probably have it tattooed on the top of both hands (where I can see it all the time unless I wear gloves.) Maybe just taped to my desk will suffice!

Hugs for the important reminder! I agree with Joni--great for starting the week!
Glad to be of service! I only write stuff I need to hear. :)

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