Writer's Curse: Five Ways To Eliminate Perfectionism

Angela Booth

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Perfectionism is a writer's curse. The first step in breaking the spell of perfectionism is to recognize that you're under its spell. Once you've recognized that this is your challenge, you can eliminate perfectionism for good.

Start by telling yourself that your writing doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to get done.

Here are five ways to eliminate perfectionism:

One: Realize That The Concept of “Perfect" Is Subjective

If you wrote it, you're unlikely to be a good judge of the writing's perfection, or lack of it. It's much better to ask: “Does the writing achieve what it's supposed to achieve?"

Often a writer who's rewriting obsessively started his project without defining it. This is like setting off on a mystery tour and then wondering why you haven't reached your destination. You can't reach your destination, because there never was a destination.

Two: Realize That All Writing Flaws Can Be Fixed, Eventually

If you're sure that there's something wrong with the writing, and you're not sure what it is, send it off to the buyer if it's been commissioned, or put it away and work on something new if it hasn't.

The buyer will tell you what's lacking. If you've put the writing away, then with some distance from it, in a month or a year, you'll be able to pick the flaw, if there is one.

Often there's no flaw - you're just too close to it.

Three: Realize That Creativity Is Messy

The concept of “perfect" cripples you as a writer. Creativity is not clean and clear and perfect, it's messy. Realize that messiness is a good sign that your writing is creative - it may be the best writing you've yet done. Allow your writing to be messy.

Four: Realize That Creativity Involves Anxiety

Unfortunately, creativity involves anxiety because you're using your right brain. Whenever you're using your right brain, researchers have found that you experience some anxiety. That's just the way it is. Your perfectionism is a desire to eliminate your anxiety. In the process, you may kill all the creativity in your work.

Go for a walk, or go to the gym - physical activity will relax you.

Five: Realize That Writing Is A Process, Not A Destination

No matter what high hopes you have for a piece of writing, you soon come to realize that the fun of writing is in the writing - not in anything that comes after it.

Since that's the case, relax and enjoy your writing, in all its messiness and imperfection.

Discover how to write, and enjoy the process. You can become the writer you've always wanted to be, with Angela Booth's Fab Freelance Writing Ezine . And you can eliminate perfectionism for good with her ebook the "Top 70 Writing Tips To Help You To Write More" . Angela Booth is a veteran author and copywriter. She's also been teaching writing for almost two decades.


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