I consider myself to be somewhat of a perfectionist, and this trait is often manifested in my writing. Maybe not so much in the finished product, as much as the actual process. I came across tips for writing an e-book recently, and one of the tips was to just write, paying no attention to how it sounds, and tweak or make corrections after. But I find it very difficult to just write and tweak afterwards. I write a sentence, then I mull it over in my head. Does it sound right? Does it really communicate what I want to say? How is my syntax? Those questions and many more pop into my head literally after I write each sentence, forcing me to go back and review, tweak, ask those questions over, review again, and so on…
As a result, a blog post such as this which could probably reasonably take me just 5 to 10 mins to jot down with 5 to 7 mins of tweaking before publishing, will instead cost me 25 to 30 mins; and I am still going to go over it, tweaking here and there before I finally hit that “publish” button.
In some instances, nothing sounds quite “perfect” enough and I end up ditching the entire post, either never to return to it again, or in a few cases attempting to write it when I feel as though I am in a different headspace. (Confession: I started this post, wrote the first sentence, then deleted it and closed the program. Then I reminded myself about what the subject matter was and thought I should probably give it a shot again :))
The scenario I described above is a prime example of me *almost* allowing perfectionism to stop me from ever starting; and that’s just in my writing.
I am sure I do not have enough fingers to count how many times I have avoided pursuing something because of perfectionism. The whole idea of it possibly failing, or just even not working out as perfectly as I imagined, has been enough in the past for me to talk myself out of doing it at all. And upon reflection, not trying at all disappoints me more than if I had tried and failed. Brings to mind the following: it is better to have tried and failed than to never have tried at all.
Oh, how I wish I could go back and just start, correcting course as I went along. Of course I can’t, neither can you; however, we can resolve to set aside perfectionism for just long enough to at least get started.
What are you hesitating to do because of your perfectionist nature?
Lesley Reece is an entrepreneur, content creator, writer and MD. She is a firm believer that one size does not fit all in any aspect of life, and that you should therefore always seek the formula that works best for YOU.